NYC Story: Aoki Leaves Roseland Raving

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New York City—Upon arriving at Roseland Ballroom for the New York stop of Steve Aoki and Datsik’s DeadMeat Tour, I was greeted by the following sign:


Midtown Madhouse: Aoki mixes it up.

Midtown Madhouse: Aoki mixes it up. Photos by

Had this been heavily enforced, handcuffs would have been a welcome addition to the trip toys and accessories held by this crowd of neon outlaws.

Navigating through the sea of scantily clad partiers was harder than usual—and I felt over-dressed for actually being dressed. (And all during New York’s Fashion Week?). So by the time the Dim Mak chief took to the decks at a punctual 12:30, the kids were gunning for it.

His stage set-up was the Aoki-ized version of the Daft Punk- and Deadmau5-influenced DJ throne, except Aoki’s had flashing A + O to the right and a K + I to the left. He started off high-energy and was immediately joined onstage by vocalist Polina, who in her glamorized trash bag leggings sang three songs, including “Come With Me,” a collaboration from Aoki’s new Wonderland album.

Then the Lil’ Jon caricature on Aoki’s t-shirt soon came to life when the man behind the “Yeeeaaahhhhhs” and “OooooKkkkkks” hit the stage post-Polina, returning the fashion favor to Aoki by sporting a cartoony version of the DJ on his tee. They rocked out to “Turbulence,” which was brought to life by the sea of jumping partiers on that second floor of Roseland Ballroom—a lil’ scary!

Later, Lil’ Jon made another appearance up in the booth, temporarily switching roles with Aoki, or for this segment, “OkkkkkkkAaaaaaoki!” Wynter Gordon rounded things out on stage with the Tommy Trash version of her “Lodi Dodi” track with Aoki, also from Wonderland.Aoki’s aggressive sounds might be described as “mental house” and offer some heavy, metallic overtones. Live, as we’ve seen, Aoki drops tracks, sheet cakes, and himself into the audience repeatedly, encouraging moshing as opposed to the routine rave-dancing. He closed out his set with his “Pursuit of Happiness” remix by Kid Cudi, and even after that, I still felt like I needed to wash my mental house sins in some sweet house beats—so I headed over to Pacha for Dirty South and John Dahlbäck.

Arriving on West 46th Street at around 2:15, it wasn’t long before Polina also appeared in the VIP section. She was still in high spirits from the wild success of the night’s performance, aaaand still rocking those same glamour trash-bag leggings. Girl!

– Natalie Raben

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