Smack dab amid all the poshness and hooplah of the Republican National Convention was easily one of the last places I'd expect a world-renowned party-starter/occasional DJ to play a free gig. But that's where I found myself Tuesday night as Steve Aoki delivered a free show sponsored by Rock the Vote at the Amphitheatre in Ybor. [Text by Andrew, photos by Mike.]
For starters, it was nice. Someone got fooled into thinking my trusty photographer and I were Very Important People, so we got to schoomze amongst the well-coiffed elite and bathe in a veritable cornucopia of free swag, hors d’ oeuvres, and drinks during the duration of the show. I thanked my PRINGLES/TUMBLR/ROCK THE VOTE overlords as my free tote grew unnaturally large, devouring everything from pins to shirts to little Pringles can speakers.
Fat, buzzed, and happy, we watched from the upstairs level as Aoki took the stage around 8:45 for a comparatively brief 80-minute set. An Aoki show is almost one of those performances worth seeing just for the sheer, dumb spectacle of it all. He hits play, turns a knob every couple of seconds, fiddles with his headphones, then DUMPS CAKE AND CHAMPAGNE AND OTHER STUFF ON THE CROWD!!!!!!! Seriously, this is his entire performance. Dude had not one, not two, but three sheet cakes he tossed onto the freakishly accepting crowd during the duration of the set.
Oh yeah, he also brings out a huge raft and inflatable mattress, then gives crowd-surfing rides to people he plucks from the masses. So, that’s cool. But, in all reality, it’s a cover up, a damn effective one, for a horribly uninspired smattering of one-off singles and indistinguishable house beats with a few nice flourishes thrown in.
From above, I got to see right down on his gear, where the musical sausage is made. And, not to pull the curtain aside on Oz or anything, but this guy hardly does anything. There was the occasional button-push or knob turn every 30 seconds or so, and even that felt generous. Full song transitions, fade ins and outs, seemingly everything is pre-programmed in Aoki’s set up. It’s cool, the crowd is none-the-wiser and still has a great time, but fuck, I don’t know, that’s a whole ‘nother article in itself, and a topic harped up ad nauseum as of late.
In the end, whatever. It’s hard to complain when it’s free. I’m just contemplating a DJ career now. Really, how hard could it be?
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.