Walking into Rock City around 8pm, I didn’t expect to see Steve Aoki in real life until an hour later when he was due on stage. However, as I walked through the door, I looked to my left, and there he was just 3 feet away from me, signing fan autographs and taking photos.
“The room was buzzing with anticipation for Aoki’s set list, but Cheat Codes managed to hold their own”
I waved hello to Steve, turned, and ran up the steps into the main hall where I was greeted by the drum and future bass tunes of the LA-based electronic music trio Cheat Codes. The room was buzzing with anticipation for Aoki’s set list, but Cheat Codes managed to hold their own, dropping heavy beats and encouraging people to interact and dance with each other.
Throughout the hour, people started to pile in and the main hall became even more full. Dancing on the main floor – I felt like I was at Crisis on the last night of exams. The audience was friendly though, and room was made for everyone wanting to dance.
As the night progressed, the hype around Steve’s performance affected more of the crowd. A mini-mosh pit formed towards the end of Cheat Codes set list and people started to cry out ‘A-O-KI, A-O-KI’. Cheat Codes were gracious though, and their set ended on a high. No songs stood out to be particularly memorable, but they were awesome at creating a pumped atmosphere and an excited crowd for Aoki’s performance.
“Steve’s set list interwove old and new styles”
After a 10-minute wait, the lights dimmed and everyone in the room held their breath. Suddenly, Steve Aoki jumped out onto the stage and everyone went wild. Steve’s set list interwove old and new styles, revisiting hits like ‘Boneless’ and then going on to introduce some of his latest songs like ‘Waste It On Me’ featuring the K-pop boy group BTS, which the audience danced to in appreciation.
Throughout his performance Aoki became increasingly more engaged with the audience. He played a remix of Dimitri Vegas’ ‘Crowd Control’, and everyone quickly grabbed the person next to them and started frantically jumping to the left and then to the right. Aoki was everywhere on stage, and at one point he ripped off his shirt in a classic rock star move, threw it into the audience, where someone probably fainted after catching it.
“Aoki was handed a massive cake and flung it into the audience”
Crew members handed Aoki bottle after bottle of champagne, which he opened and sprayed the entire audience with. When his song ‘Cakeface’ started, Aoki was handed a massive cake and flung it into the audience. He then threw two more cakes into the crowd, aiming for the people sitting on their friend’s shoulders. When he hit them, the audience cheered and started to dance even more wildly.
“The entire room crouched, and as the music built everyone started to get ready for a massive jump”
Aoki dimmed the music, and shouted for everyone to get down low on the floor. The entire room crouched, and as the music built everyone started to get ready for a massive jump when the beat dropped. We jumped, and out streamed masses of smoke from the stage and party poppers exploded into the audience.
Towards the end of the night, Aoki came into the crowd and picked out some lucky audience members to go on the stage, where he gave them free, signed tour t-shirts.
“I felt like I was at a major festival”
The crowd’s electricity was infectious, and everyone around me was dancing, jumping or fist pumping – just enjoying the music. The concert felt intimate as the venue was small, yet Aoki packed in such a massive punch with his music, I felt like I was at a major festival. He brought together people of all ages and from all walks of life, and this was reflected in his music – he remixed Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’, and transported us back to the simpler pre-Brexit times with a remix of David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ (Ahh I miss 2011).
Then suddenly, it was over. Ending almost as quickly as it had begun – the electric energy dissipated, and the lights went on. Everyone looked around and saw the absolute mess made by the champagne and the cakes. My friends and I looked at each other… Was it over? I was on such a high, and then immediately I was brought back to reality.
“Aoki seemed like a mysterious entity”
At the end of the concert I was left feeling a little empty. Aoki seemed like a mysterious entity – for that one moment during his set he was the audiences best friend, but then as soon as the music stopped, he disappeared into the night as quickly as my memories after a few shots.
Featured Image courtesy of Steve Aoki Official Facebook Page.