STEVE AOKI & KID SISTER
Nov 16th 2010 @ Arillaga Alumni Center
Photo: Brian Valdizno
Article from treeswingers.com:
Everyone knows we’ve had our doubts about Stanford Concert Network. Earlier this year at Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Das Racist performed just four songs as speakers and equipment failed around them in a truly disappointing show. Last year, Yeasayer was mediocre at best, straining themselves to put together a coherent hour-long set without losing interest.
This time, however, things were a little different as SCN took things a little more seriously. They traded in a crowded co-op for the vast expanses of a 1,000-person capacity multipurpose room, found some working speakers and booked arguably the biggest set of acts this campus has seen since The Roots played four years ago. Bravo, SCN.
Relaxing in his infamous blowup raft before the show, Steve Aoki represented an artist in his prime–a globetrotting DJ whose fanbase spans LA club rats to European house purists. More than 10 years removed from college life , Kid Millionaire returned to a land of academia–a realm where he first made a name for himself booking more than 450 artists to play his legendary Pickle Patch at UCSB. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind–a decade of musical exploration, savvy business moves and personal reincarnations: audio enthusiast, hardcore band leader, living room concert promoter, Dim Mak founder and, finally, DJ. Smiling behind his trademark beard and wild black locks, Aoki was ready–only leaving to take a 15-minute nap to shake of the jet lag. After all, it was only Stanford right?
Priming the stage for Aoki, Kid Sister had an impressive resume in her own right. Since debuting “Pro Nails” with Kanye West, she’s released Ultraviolet and become the new face of femster rap, developing a style of electro-friendly hip hop that makes her all the more the appealing. With boyfriend A-Trak looking on, Kid Sister took to the stage and unleashed a rapidfire set as the crowd filtered into the venue. She stomped and clapped across the stage, testing the fortitude of the makeshift platform, as dubstep beats threatened to blow out the speakers before Aoki could even take the stage. After tearing through most of her album, Kid Sister clocked in with 30 minutes of solid performance leaving the stage warm for the night’s main attraction.
Despite the hype or preparation–crowd control, cops and a strict door policy–no one, much less SCN, could have been ready for Steve Aoki. Drawing from the energy and endurance of his own college show promotion days, he returned to his roots, feeding off a growing crowd of students who packed into the venue as tightly as possible to get a glimpse of the Dim Mak champion. By the first song, crowd control was irrelevant as the student crush forced security on to the stage, engulfing the rope barricade. So much for a perimeter.
On Tuesday night, Aoki was no-nonsese, plugging in his laptop after a short introduction before proceeding to crack the paint on the venue’s walls and blow out eardrums with a prearranged set of songs that spanned genres, relationships and a body of work. There was a remix of N.A.S.A.’s “Gifted” from Aoki the producer; hardcore vocals from Aoki the latter half of side projet Rifoki; and tributes from Aoki the friend, as he played Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in memory of the late DJ A.M. Over a span of nearly two hours, the crowd couldn’t get enough. Confetti and cases upon cases of water bottles created a rainbow splash zone as students ate up Kid Cudi remixes and the shrewdly included “All Right Now.” Lights spun off of entranced faces. Security guards turned into makeshift clean up crews and roadies as they tried to keep the stage clear and equipment intact. And above it all stood Aoki, smiling calmly as he watched the chaotic masterpiece unfold in front of him. “Aoki, Aoki, Aoki.” Ten years out of college and it feels like he never left.
Check out the set by the opener contest winners, The DARPA Project: