Steve Aoki at Stereo Live, 5/16/2013
Photos by Marco Torres
Steve Aoki Stereo Live May 16, 2013
According to the World Black Belt Bureau, the term "Dim Mak", also called the "Touch of Death," is defined as "the ancient martial art of striking vital points of an opponent's body... engineered to cause a knockout, death, or delayed reaction in the opponent." It is rumored that Dim Mak was the real cause of death for a certain actor/martial artist by the name of Bruce Lee. Back in 1996, a skinny Japanese-American kid named Steve Aoki started his own record label, and named it Dim Mak as a tribute to Lee.
He's been killing the EDM game ever since.
Thursday night, the crowd at Stereo Live was electric, or as the great American poet Roscoe Dash would say, everyone was "all the way turnt up." Tickets for the show were sold out weeks in advance, and the procrastinators were vigorously attempting to purchase last-minute tickets on Facebook.
Once inside the club, I was quickly reminded why I really enjoy covering EDM shows... but pretty lights and girls in bikinis aside, it's EDM fans' attitude that makes these shows awesome. If someone bumps into you, he or she apologizes. If people wanna get by you, they say "excuse me." I took a photo of someone, and they said "thanks for the photo, may I give you a hug?!". A kid asked me if my Red Bull and vodka was water, and was bummed when I said "no." But he looked thirsty, so I bought him a bottle of water.
Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect indeed.
Aoki is not a DJ in the traditional sense. He doesn't scratch, juggle beats, or cut his music live. But what he lacks as a turntablist he more than makes up for with star-studded remixes, dance anthems, energy and antics. With his long, flowing black hair and facial hair, he looks like a Japanese-American version of Jesus, and he bounces around the stage with a carefree spirit and birthday cakes in his hand.
Yes, birthday cakes. I spent most of my time in the photo pit dodging flying pieces of vanilla cake and icing and being showered by two bottles of champagne. Everyone has his own "thing"... and for Aoki, that happens to be cake. His fans beg for him to "cake" them, so he does. Imagine how awesome it would be to do this on a regular basis. Aoki is living the dream, man.
With all the cake and champagne flying around, it was hard to take notes, but I do vaguely remember hearing the track "Turbulence" with Laidback Luke and Lil Jon. In fact, Aoki has collaborated with a long list of a who's who in the EDM world: Tiesto, Afrojack, will.I.am as Zuper Blahq, LMFAO, and many more. Every song Aoki played Thursday had a purpose, selected and engineered to create an experience of sensory overload, sweat, and fun.
Unfortunately for Aoki and everyone else, Fire Marshall Bill paid a visit to Stereo Live and shut the place down at around 1:15 a.m. Both the DJ and the crowd were extremely disappointed, but delighted just the same to have experienced the spectacle that is a Steve Aoki show.
Even if that means having a face full of baked goods thrown at your face.
Personal Bias: Besides the Sahara Tent at Coachella, this was my first EDM show of the year. If this show is any indication, it's gonna be a great concert season for EDM.
The Crowd: One of the largest I've seen at Stereo Live. Also one of the friendliest.
Overheard In the Crowd: CAKE ME! CAKE ME! PLEASE CAKE ME!
Random Notebook Dump: Met a cute girl named Mars. She was dressed as a panda at first, but later she switched into a Native American headdress. I hope she calls.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.