Street closures can piss people off, whether it’s for a parade, a protest or onerous roadwork that, hey, has to get done. But with a little planning, that can be avoided, so get over it. Last night it was on Broadway in Downtown, between 4th and 6th, where three city blocks were closed off to accommodate nearly ten thousand people for one of the city’s best free shows.
As part of the “Bring Back Broadway” initiative brought about by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Mayor along with EDM superstar Steve Aoki organized a gargantuan free show to get people signed up for the Mayor’s Volunteer Group to help with city projects and for Aoki to promote his new record “Neon Future II”, which came out this past week.
From what I could glean, it seems the event was advantageous for both causes, Broadway transformed into a sea of Dance Music fans of all ages, all signed up to make LA better city than it already is. People can give back to their community, or the meta Angeleno community, while getting to dance their asses off, for free!
The segmented crowd’s front section, with the stage on Broadway & 6th, was packed to capacity already for opener Reid Stefan’s set, an Angeleno DJ/Producer whose mix was a non-stop explosion of bass heavy tunes regardless of tempo.
The thick rimmed glasses wearing Stefan was pumping his arms and jumping like a kid who had too much caffeine, this wasn’t a warm up set, this was a dive right into the fire of the party and people were loving it! I thoroughly enjoyed his rapid fire mixing, clever mash-ups and savoir faire that hyped a crowd irreproachably, plus he played some fuckin’ Moombahton, a seemingly moribund subgenre that definitely needs more live play (Looking at you Valentino Khan).
Next was a bucket hat wearing, raspy voiced Carnage who brought a salvo of bass driven music in his ephemeral 30 minute set, with a mix like his, those 30 minutes were bug fuck nuts! From mind numbingly heavy Trap to throbbing Hard House, Carnage kicked ass and took no prisoners. Each drop got a gnarlier response than the last, this was my first time seeing him and I was impressed with his favorably low ended mix. He took to the microphone and declared that he lived only two blocks away, I guess there’s nothing better than playing for a few thousand people in your neighborhood.
The bass attack continued with fellow Californian DJ and Producer Ookay (pronounced oh-kay, not being the boss of you or anything), whose mix was definitely the best for the dreaded penultimate slot, he brought some of his notoriously incendiary remixes and originals with ardor and firepower in the form of one crazy ass set. From start to finish he screamed at the crowd and got airplane jet loud cheers in return, he banged his head and jumped like a rabbit on fire to the beat, I had a scant understanding of his music before this show and I can safely say he has made a fan out of me. Moreover, he got an additional ten minutes to play some new sub woofer blasting tunes of his, which was epic in every sense of the word.
Finally the lights turn off, the LED screens presented a video of Mayor Garcetti thanking those who attended and desired to make LA better in doing so, then he welcomed the man of the night to the stage: the king of the party, head of the tastemaking Dim Mak Records, DJ/Producer slash avid cake tosser, Steve Aoki.
I first saw Aoki perform at Coachella in 2009, the Angeleno’s DJ set was easily the most energetic and had the most crowd involvement of any I have seen, before or since. This time was around was only more energetic and crowd involving. His mix was non-stop fusillade of House bangers, including popular works of his such as “Turbulence” and his rework of Kid Cudi’s “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
Guests such as Moxie he rained champagne on the crowd, cakes were tossed and lucky girls from the crowd got to partake in an insane selfie against a crowd backdrop with him. His shows are definitely a great time not to mention the fact that he is already a legend to the EDM scene and LA’s music scene for nearly 20 years, his Dim Mak imprint was epochal to the success of groups such as The Kills or Bloc Party or Electronic Music stars such as The Bloody Beetroots, who he made the song “Warp 1.9” with, which garnered him a lot of listens and a one way ticket to stardom.
Steve Aoki puts on a great show, indulging in maximalism and a fervent dedication to being the life of the party, he’s like the guy who is making sure everyone at the party is having a great time crossed with the party’s DJ. Put quite simply, you haven’t lived till you have been to a Steve Aoki show. Be sure to grab his new record “Neon Future II” now!
Kieran J. MacIntyre is a voracious music nerd of all genres, bass player and managing editor of M&C Music. You can find him on Twitter