NEW YORK, NY—Ending the Pier Of Fear series for this Halloween season was a show from dance music artist and party starter Steve Aoki for his Aokify tour. Bringing along several friends each night, I attended the second evening featuring Rune RK, Waka Flocka Flame, Borgore and Pharrell. This was surely an excitable event particularly since Aoki’s date on this year’s Electric Zoo had been cancelled. So what would the artist have in store for the costumed crowd? He had a solid evening that lived up to all the stories I’ve heard about his performances.
I caught the last bit of Waka Flocka Flame, who was mixing in Ace Hood’s “Bugatti” with his own music. The energy was in full force from Waka Flocka and things exploded with songs like “No Hands.” Thankfully this would not be the last I saw of the rapper for the evening.
With an impermeable dance floor and packed VIP tables, Borgore took the stage to a very welcoming audience. The name foreshadows as to what would come of his beats. You can feel a grittiness and heavy metal drum influence in his beats, even when incorporating some of the top tracks of EDM in his set like Zedd’s “Clarity.” However, the more disturbing part of his set were the two bikini-clad pole dancers on both sides of his DJ booth—though a rant on the objectification of women on stage at EDM shows, in particular with Major Lazer’s, can be left for another day.
That aside, Borgore gave an excellent set and was even accompanied by his partner Tomba from their dubstep project Alphamale Primates. What made the evening great was the short change between sets. There were even brightly clad go-go dancers and Carnival-esque performers to keep your eye busy waiting for the next artist to take the stage.
The big highlight was having Pharrell perform a few songs right before Aoki. He came on stage and you could sense the women in the room trying to claw their way to the stage, probably thinking “Beautiful” was being sung directly at them. It was icing on the cake and he wrapped up his set with the summer’s two biggest hits, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, both songs Pharrell lends vocals for their hooks. He tried inviting ladies in the audience to join him for “Blurred Lines,” but he noted the difficulty getting to the stage, making it a lonely dance party for him.
Almost magically, Pharrell said good night and disappeared from the stage, prompting fans to chant the name Aoki. It was only a matter of minutes before Aoki greeted the crowd and got to playing. Unlike many EDM shows where sets will go a few hours, Aoki played a little under two hours even though with daylight savings time he could have gotten away with going longer. So he got straight to business with his usual show tomfoolery.
From sending out an inflatable raft for Aoki and fans to really crowd surf to throwing cakes into the audience (I lost count after seven), Aoki proves he’s into crowd interaction. He was also dancing around just as much as those below and was excited when he played new music, asking fans if it would be OK to do so. With the new single “Bring You To Life (Transcend)” and collaboration with Linkin Park, there was much to celebrate.
Just when you thought he couldn’t throw anymore cakes into the audience, Aoki brought fans on stage to deck a couple with white frosting goodness. Toward the end, he brought back Waka Flocka to help add vocals over beats and unsurprisingly, throw a cake himself. With a good night and the house lights slowly returning, fans started to head out, but it was hard to keep him off stage. Aoki came out for a much deserved and welcomed encore, proving his shows are one hell of a party.