Steve Aoki came to play, and on a large scale. As stage hands were discreetly setting up his set, covering his lights and stage with tarps so as not to ruin the surprise, the excitement in the crowd was palpable. Chants of “AOKI! AOKI! AOKI!” gave way to unintelligible screams of joy as he approached the stage. Cameras were swinging from cranes overhead for his live stream via Ultra Records, people were climbing on each others’ shoulders, and everyone knew it was on. Steve gets on the mic and then sends goosebumps through the crowd as the beat to “Steve Jobs” begins. By the time the first kick came around, all were jumping up and down in unison. Read more after the break.
After getting the crowd sufficiently riled up with the intro, Aoki unleashed a slew of unrelenting bangers, keeping the energy somewhere between crazed and manic. Next up was Steve’s collaboration with Tiesto, “Tornado.” While this is not our favorite recorded song, it leaves nothing to be desired live. Just when we wondered how this pace could be maintained, Lil John comes running out to the intro of “Turbulence.” Initially, we did not necessarily consider this to be a good thing as the last time we saw Lil John come out during a house music event was during EDC 2010 for his infamous “Stop the fence jumping!” rant. However, he turned out to be a fantastic live complement to the infectious basslines and drops of the track. Within no time, every person in sight was in a frenzy jumping to the massive kick. The onslaught fittingly reached its peak with none other than “Warp.” See the video below, and note Steve’s infectious giddiness as he jumps around the stage.
While Aoki has many familiar tunes with which he can blow away an audience, it’s not the only reason you go to his show. The guy knows how to throw a great party. After a brief pause following “Warp,” the night’s maestro informs us that he’s about to drop a brand new track that’s never been played publicly. Right after the intro, Steve grabs an inflated air mattress and flings it into the crowd. See the video below as kids climb out from the hordes of people and start jumping on the air mattress while crowdsurfing. All while Aoki is just soaking it in while gracing us with his brand new song.
Then, the guests keep coming out. Wynter Gordon comes out singing “Ladi Dadi.” Of course this isn’t going to be a straightforward track, as Aoki has been keeping us on our toes all night. The crowd goes ballistic as he starts mixing in and out of RG favorite, “No Beef.” Other notable tracks that followed were “Earthquakey People” and “Emergency,” which was the only part of the set that was subpar. However, it was immediately made up to us in the form of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki Remix),” which time the crowd vacillated between swaying back and forth while singing along to raging during the more uptempo portions.
By the end of the night, everyone was exhausted, but still wanted more. Chants of “AOKI! AOKI! AOKI!” erupted once again to send him off. Afterwards, we were left to reflect on the events of the night: complete and utter destruction, floating air mattresses, confetti, fully baked cakes being flung into the crowd from onstage, and Aoki pouring a two liter of cranberry juice on two lucky fans. Needless to say, we will be in attendance the next time Steve Aoki and Dim Mak come to town.