Steve Aoki:Fashionably Late
It’s approaching 1am and the Brixton Academy is jam-packed with sweaty partygoers waiting for the headliner to take the evening/early hours of the morning to the next level. The news comes through the crowd that tonight has just sold out which marks the third time that Aoki has achieved this feat in this historic venue. With a capacity of 5,000, this proves, love or hate him, the man is still in high demand across the world. Over the years, the superstar DJ has received some criticism for his lack of actual DJ-ing, some going as far to say, “All he does is hit the play button,” but we are here with a clean slate and open mind.
There’s no denying Aoki has brought his big bag of tricks with him tonight as he stands behind his decks in a crucifixion pose with confetti raining down and fireworks exploding; it is quite spectacular to witness. He knows just how to inject you with a dose of chaos in every musical section, melody or song. You can’t help but want to be closer to the front to experience the vibrant electric atmosphere he has created in the room. While he does stick to the same formula with most of his set of growing and releasing, verging on one dimensional, it does obtain the desired reaction. Indeed, the room seems to be like puppets on strings which is what it’s all about: control of his audience. Yes, he does exploit gimmicks like over-using cheesy party anthems such as “Put your hands up” as a mix repeat, cake face smashing, champagne showers and the occasional riverboat crowd surf, but those things act as tools to shape an atmosphere. They are manipulated by the maestro to make the perfect night.
His “Neon Future” saga has taken him above and beyond what most DJ’s get to experience. Aoki has rightly carved his name in the scene as one of the big boys of the EDM and DJ world from established residency in elite hotels in Las Vegas, to headlining the world’s biggest festivals. One wonders what will be his next tour de force. Tonight finishes at 3am on the button and no one is ready to go home; it has been a memorable experience, to say the least. There is no middle ground for a live performance like this; you either love it through and through or it’s just not for you. Yet everyone should give this a go. Look upon it as a theme park roller coaster; at first glance, it might look intimidating, but once you’re in that seat, it could be the ride of your life