Steve Aoki at North Coast Music Festival | Photos and music review
Maybe it was the narrow physical dimensions that kept the crowd packed and rowdy, but the Red Bull stage in the corner of Union Park was the place to be all day Sunday. A dinosaur riding a zebra, SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer all bobbed above the crowd attached to sticks. Security was heightened on Sunday, and guards roamed the perimeter looking for fence-jumpers. At 8pm, Steve Aoki took the stage and asked the crowd “Are you fucking ready?” A computerized voice then began a chant “A-O-KI, A-O-KI.” It quickly became clear why Aoki is one of the highest grossing DJs in the world: he is a master of self-branding.
Throughout his hour-long set, Aoki used countless variation of his recognizable beard-and-flowing hair design in his own projections. Fans ate up his high-energy set, brandishing cardboard penis cut outs, a glowing Scream mask, a Chuckie doll and a wizard’s hat. “Come away with me” sang the vocals as Aoki climbed on the DJ table and pumped his hands overhead. Fan interaction was the name of the game, as Aoki spent precious little time behind the turntables, and a lot of time spraying champagne on the crowd, throwing out water bottles and t-shirts, and generally acting like his own cheerleader. Sonar bleeps mixed with Lil’ Jon samples as the crowd throbbed to the undulating waves of sound. “I just want…I just want…I just want to WOOT WOOT” rang another sample. At one point, Aoki asked the crowd to pose for a picture. “If you’re feeling good say ‘fuck yeah.’ Ok, now I need to you put your craziest rage-face on right now.” The crowd thinned out halfway through the set once Pretty Lights started, but those who stayed were treated to some true dubstep womp-womp for their effort.