So last night was the Steve Aoki show at the Washington Avenue Armory. My expectations going into this show were really obscenely high, almost to the point where I was wondering if they could be met. Here's how it all turned out...
We got dropped off by the cab right outside the venue and were instantly greeted by an ambulance, and about half of the Albany PD. Not much of a shock considering the recent events taking place, mainly thanks to SUNY bros.
DJ Prophet was in the middle of his set when we went inside and it was subpar, at best. His mixes were weak and the music was not loud enough, at all (which can't really be his fault, to be fair). Also, compared to the massive space available in the Armory, it felt like no one was there. So overall, this made for a very lackluster environment. The only redeeming quality of the performance was that the main hype man looked just like Frigo from Adventureland. Next act, please.
I was really excited to see B. Martin. He's an Albany rapper who has recently started to make a name for himself by winning a national rap contest hosted by T-Pain. I was hoping to really hear him rap, but he played to the type of show he was at and his DJ (anyone catch the name?), seemed to be the focus. I can only recall him actually laying down a verse twice. I liked what I heard though, definitely the best out of the three local openers.
DJ Capital (who I'm told is the house DJ at Figure 10 on some weekend night) was the last local. He had some moments of brilliance, but several times, it seemed that once he had something good going, and the crowd was feeling it, he would switch to a new beat and just kill everything he had built up. Not knocking the guy though, I can see his sets at the local clubs being a blast.
At the stroke of midnight, finally, Steve Aoki graced the stage. By this point, the crowd was significantly larger, though the place still was not packed (side bar - I don't think the Armory can ever get packed). From the first drop to the last, the crowd was going absolutely nuts. Aoki had great energy and knew how to keep the crowd amped. Multiple bottles of champagne were sprayed over the crowd, in addition to a pool float being given to the crowd as a crowd surfing device. Also, probably some of my favorite moments were when Aoki would step out from behind the booth, grab the mic, and scream along to the song, bringing a new, primal level of intensity to the music. It was hard to pick a highlight from his set...about two-thirds in, he played his remix of Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness", straight into "I'm in the House"...two huge crowd pleasers. Directly after those, he played a new song, and unfortunately I didn't catch the name, because this song was a straight-up banger. The conclusion of the regular set saw Aoki break out some of his dubstep material. It was a welcome change of pace to the constant assault of house music. The encore was epic, simple as that. First was his "Lion King" remix...try to picture a huge crowd of twenty-somethings screaming the African opening to that song. It was a sight to behold. He closed the whole night with an absolute treat, at least for me...and judging by the reactions throughout the crowd, I think the majority agreed. Out of left field, Aoki dropped "Bulls on Parade" by Rage Against the Machine, and every ounce of testosterone in that room was going off the wall. He attempted to have the crowd pull off the "wall of death", which was only a mild success, but it still ended in just a mass movement and well, raging. When all was said and done, it was 1:30am when the Armory lights were turned back on. I couldn't hear anything, I could barely feel my legs, and I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face...that is, of course, until some SUNY bro got all aggro on me for asking if Beam and I could share the cab with him and his friends. Nice life.
Here are a couple blurry pictures I took with my phone: