Steve Aoki – Kool Haus – March 2, 2012

By Jamie Bertolini
Photos by Elena Maystruk

If anyone truly knows how to throw an amazing party, it’s Steve Aoki. His show on March 2nd couldn’t have felt less like a concert. Aoki was off the stage jamming with audience members almost as much as he was up there spinning.

The party, which took place at the Kool Haus, also featured Bais Haus, Andys III, Angger Dimas and Datsik who is a dubstep DJ signed with Aoki’s own record label, Dim Mak Records. The venue was packed with young fans, mostly scantily dressed for a cool and rainy evening near Toronto Harbour. Spandex shorts and tanks worn in every colour of the rainbow were paired with equally bright sneakers and as many glow sticks that could creatively add to each person’s individual look. Walking in, I definitely felt overdressed in jeans and a nice top (not to mention my rain boots). Throughout the evening, I would soon come to the realisation of other particularly useful articles that wouldn’t have hurt to have brought.

Sunglasses, for example, would have been one of those items. Before being let into the venue I noticed many concertgoers wearing a variety those typical Ray-Ban Wayfarer-style shades. It’s was hours after the sun had set……. is this really the style now? I would soon find out their questionable idea was rather ingenious. The pure magnitude of the lights on stage flashing at the crowd was truly blinding. Don’t get me wrong though, the display and lighting effects were spectacular from the minute Aoki stepped on stage, all the way to the end.

Aoki’s electro house music blasted over the speakers and had the crowd on their feet and jumping the entire night. Aoki himself followed suit throughout his entire performance, displaying remarkable amounts of energy and passion for what he does.

The music Aoki plays is comprised of both original tracks and mixes of other known songs. His first full-length studio album, Wonderland, was released in January and consists of 13 original songs featuring artists like LMFAO, Kid Cudi and Travis Barker to name a few. Every song on the album is a blend between Aoki and at least one other artist.

Aoki creates beats that stand apart from regular house music typically heard in most club scenes. Oftentimes, he will have another artist contribute vocals, adding a whole new dimension to his music. The songs are all very well executed and so catchy, it was impossible not to be swept away by the beat.

Aoki demonstrated a number of unconventional ways to include the audience throughout the performance. The best of all was a large yellow inflatable boat. Throwing it into the extended arms of the crowd, he would either recruit an audience member to briefly crowd surf (or boat) or would leap on himself. A little later, a cake decorated with his label’s name, “Dim Mak”, appeared in his arms as he strode from one side of the stage to the other seemingly looking for somebody in the crowd who wanted it. Upon finding who I can only imagine was the most enthusiastic fan, the cake was soon over his shoulder and into the faces of a few supporters in the front row. What a mess! His highly amusing stage antics did not stop there, however. Not only was another cake thrown in the cheering faces of front row fans, but a container of salad was used as another prop. Its contents were literally “tossed” off the stage as a tribute to his highly popular song, “No Beef.”

The very entertaining night came to a close following a final song encore of his track collaboration with Kid Cudi and Travis Barker, “Cudi the Kid.” Aoki made an appearance at the merchandise booth after wrapping up on stage to talk to and take photos with some of his fans, continuing to show immense amounts of dedication to his supporters.

Aoki is currently travelling across the continent for his label, Dim Mak’s “Deadmeat” 2012 North American Tour promoting his new album. Wonderland is available in stores now.