There’s a lot I want to say about this gig but at the same time I don’t think I can do the experience justice. What can I say about the craziest and most insane gig I’ve ever experienced that could even come close to capturing the frenzy and euphoria of the atmosphere everyone at the Metro was caught up in on this night?! If this doesn’t belong in the[AU]review’s Hall-of-Fame then I will resign from my completely unpaid voluntary position this INSTANCE!
[Ed: Duly noted!]
Running through the support acts, Ember pulled out a really great set to start of the night for most. He’s been a festival mainstay for a few years now, playing Parklife, Global Gathering, usually during a daytime slot. He is much more suited to a night-time atmosphere and hopefully he gets more opportunities to play in situations like this gig. Playing a mixture of electro, dance, hip hop, rap and even some rock he gave everyone something to enjoy but was able to seamlessly blend the songs into a coherent set. Highlights for me included the Justice mixes he dropped into the set (I think I remember hearing both Genesis & Waters of Nazareth), Simon Says (Get the Fuck Up) which got everyone on their feet and in the air, and DMX’s Party Up definitely made everyone lose their shit (up in here, up in here).
Next up came one of Aoki’s protégé’s DJ Bam Bam. Admittedly I knew very little of him and wasn’t able to really get into his set. It seemed to mainly consist of harder house music with very little vocals (if any) and I lost interest to wander into the smaller room to sample some of the flavours there. Props to some of the stuff they were playing out there including (as always) my favourite sons Bloc Party’s Banquet. However, the atmosphere was lacking too much so we settled back into the main room to await the main event.
Now let’s get down to business, tonight was all about DJ impresario Steve Aoki, son of a legendary Japanese wrestler and later famous American restaurateur (seriously), brother of film star and international supermodel, founder of the super trendy Dim Mak Records and, most importantly, purveyor of pulsating parties (maybe I’m getting carried away but I think the adrenaline is still pumping). Rolling onto the decks at around 1am he started off somewhat incongruously with a few bars of “why do birds suddenly appear” but this only served to heighten the transition into his first proper song, the one that is largely responsible for his fame with the masses, Warp 1.9 with the Bloody Beetroots. As the beat dropped in after the famous refrain “1, 2, woop woop” the entire Metro heaved as one. As the song broke down, Kid Millionaire (as he’s sometimes known) launched into his obligatory screams and the crowd’s voices rose as one. Never before have I heard such a primal vocal expression from the crowd and to be part of it was at once both deafening and exhilarating.
As the set rolled on, the tempo kept shifting upward and upward in proportion with the temperature, which almost seemed unbearable at times but served the purpose of making everyone just let loose and no longer give a shit about looking good as they got down and dirty. The set featured no less than 3 stage jumps from Steve (one from on top of the decks which ended with him crushing the crowd), a bottle of Belvedere vodka poured on the front row, 3 bottles of Moet sprayed everywhere (although this is well behind his record of 8 he set in Singapore) and most importantly one thumping song after another.
The tunes he spun included plenty of his mate’s the Bloody Beetroots, including Cornelius, Warp 7.7, and another rendition of Warp 1.9 as the final song (well, excluding the encore of his new remix of Kid Cudi, MGMT & Ratatat’s ‘Pursuit of Happiness’). Other great songs included his mix of N.A.S.A / Gifted, hints of Justice here and there, Invaders Must Die by the Prodigy and a ripping mix of One More Time. But the highlight for me was Sandstorm by Darude near the end of the set. By this time Aoki was topless and covered in Sweat (like every crowd member) but still in great form as the lights dimmed and he teased us by pulling down the sound and beat as low as they could go before launching into the final section of the song at full speed and volume.
As the set closed out, I think everyone was exhausted, deafened but knowing they’d witnessed something with their friends which transcended the mere music. Whilst it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it’s hard for me not to attribute some poignant, almost spiritual, meaning to the feelings you have when you share a night like this with some of your best friends.