In support of his most recent album Neon Future I, Steve Aoki took to the stage at the legendary Brixton Academy as part of his short UK leg, giving London a slice of clubbing paradise on a frosty February evening. The American DJ and producer who has most notably worked with Kid Cudi, will.i.am and even Fall Out Boy, is famed for his phenomenal, energy-fueled sets and interactions with his audience such as throwing cake at fans and crowd surfing.
Marnik, an Italian DJ duo who are signed to Aoki’s label Dim Mak Records opened up the evening, encouraging the crowd who were still pouring in to the building to party the night away with the delivery of classic dance tunes as well as remixes of bands like Nirvana and Linkin Park, which meant that there was something for everyone in the hour and a half set. Openers, naturally, are in place to get their music out on a broader scale as well as warm the crowd up for the headlining artist — Marnik had no struggle with that, clear by the incredible reception from the audience.
Main support, Dutch DJ Tony Junior who is another artist that’s part of the Dim Mak family took over from Marnik and carried things on in a similar fashion, with seemingly only one objective in mind – to keep the crowd excited; keep them dancing and enjoying the evening ahead of Aoki’s signature performance. A strong point for the DJ was his mix of ‘Bonkers‘ by Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden, which had the entire room singing along at the top of their lungs. It might have been cold outside, and those nearer the front of the stage had been queuing in it for hours, but things were starting to warm up and there was no doubt it was become easy to forget that everyone was in a club venue in the middle of South London and not at a nightclub in Ibiza.
It was just after midnight when Aoki hit the stage, descending as the classical tune ‘Con te Partiro‘ by Andrea Bocelli boomed across the room. It was an unusual opening, but a powerful one all the same that had the crowd screaming along to the song in unison. Flashing lights blared everywhere, so nobody was really sure what they were looking at but soon enough Aoki was in sight, screaming out to his audience, “How you doing, London?!”
Naturally, it wasn’t long before the DJ lived up to his reputation by launching a few cakes in to the audience and covering his gleeful fans in cream. On top of that, he went above and beyond with his hospitality, sharing bottles of champagne and evening spraying one across the room. The cleaners of Brixton Academy were in for one hell of a job once everyone had cleared out, but for the time being it was time to party and Aoki was a natural born host for tonight’s proceedings. With a combination of remixes and club hits, and tracks from his most recent album, the crowd were surely thinking they had got more than their money’s value and it was well worth having to trapse the streets of Brixton at 3AM trying to find a night bus home.
There are no lack of DJs in this world, that’s for sure, but many of them move to the same beat and offer up something that is far from unique. Steve Aoki sticks out from the crowd in a good way — he has no problem with getting involved with his fans at shows, making sure they have the best kind of time in his presence. His mixing and producing skills are enviable, and seeing him live really proves that he deserves every bit of attention he receives — including that Grammy nomination!