Steve Aoki, you are a f***ing nutcase.
All photos by Nick Minieri, for some more sick shots, visit beantownboogiedown.com.
Welcome back to IDentity Fest. After the first half of the day, you probably thought bigger dance parties were not physically or logically possible. That’s a silly thought, considering ID Fest is probably the LEAST rationally comprehensible place you could be.
It is currently 6:30 p.m., and I am at Avicii‘s show, dancing in the middle of this:
Apparently this is what Swede dreams are made of…
When’s the next plane to Switzerland?
Now go back and watch the video again and pay attention to how hard I tried to cut out those two bros in the dead center of it who are having a straight up Avicii “Bromance” during the show. Wearing matching tanks, both are on the short side, making up for their insecurity with bulging muscles that they humbly showcase to the world, turning completely away from Tim Berg and pumping their fists at everyone behind them.
Within minutes, they have their arms around each others’ shoulders as they smile ecstasy-cally—I mean ecstatically—and a beautiful bromance blossoms before my eyes.
We managed to snap a photo of the same bro at a different point during the day.
Wait, there he is again!
Uh oh. They’re everywhere.
Looks like a 5,000-deep, bro-clone army has infiltrated the Comcast Center.
But back to Berg, who’s blowing up the HOUSE right now. If you think you can’t dance, I dare you to stand still during an Avicii show. Perched high atop his dj set, he drops his remix of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and the whole stadium shakes as the thousands-deep crowd jumps in unison, our arms in the air, singing
“WE COULD’VE HAD IT ALLLLLLLL.”
One of my favorites is the Swedish producer’s rave-tastic bootleg mix of Otto Knows vs. Calvin Harris “Flashback,” because the vocals are so goddamn catchy (1:46): “I’m coming round and now my vision is so clear / If I could change my state of mind then I would disappear—“
And I can’t help thinking that I would like to disappear from the Comcast Center to somewhere like… here:
All of a sudden I feel my friend Rachel’s hands on my shoulders as I’m dancing, and my muscles melt into a glorious massage. Brian grabs my hand and starts giving me a hand massage at the same time, and though the vissual displays are awesome, I have to close my eyes in pure bliss.
Avicii ends the set by dropping Pendulum’s “The Island 2”. The mind-numbing buildup (begins at 1:30) consisting of “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” moving from a whisper to a thundering dynamic, as the huge light behind Avicii gets brighter and brighter until it engulfs him, his towering dj set, and then the entire stage—and I’m sure some kids can’t wait for it—their heads just explode into mush before making it to the point when Berg throws in “As we go towards the light” and brings the beat back (2:29).
Those of us who survive the crisis erupt into fanatical dancing and sing in unison:
It was about 7:30 p.m. … Could you hear us in Boston?
We all make our way to the Dim Mak stage, and as the sun finally sets, all we can mange to do is plop down on the macadam and rest, waiting for Steve Aoki to take the stage.
The next hour and a half is a battle of antithetic Steves. We run back and forth between Steve Aoki’s in-your-face-dancing-madness-intense show and the cool, breath of fresh air that is Steve Lawler’s layered symphony in the woods—his second set of the day gets better and better upon repeated returns.
Aoki is now swinging from the side of his stage and I’m waiting for him to jump.
He pops open a bottle of champagne, throws back his feet of long, black hair, takes a big gulp and sprays it into the crowd. During some of his songs, like the Misfits one, with Travis Barker from Blink-182 playing the drums on the huge projector behind him- as he jumps maniacally up and down and screams at us- I’m not going to lie, I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack.
But I love tracks like his remix of “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi (feat. MGMT & Ratatat), and no one gets the crowd going like Aoki. Beckoning us with his arms wide and his feet of black hair bouncing, we all scream along with him,
“I’m screaming out Fuck that! Fuck that! Fuck that!”
Buildup: we all join singing the chorus at the top of our lungs: “I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold…I’ll be Fiiiiiiiiiine once I get it. I’ll be goooood.”
Build up build up buildup… (5:13) BOOM—dance explosion.
And hey, “if we fall and if we die [during Aoki’s show],” at least we know we “lived life to the fullest,” which I assume is Aoki’s general mentality as well.
Aoki ends the set by cutting from some catchy house into disgustingly dirty dubstep with Rob Roy’s Rollercoaster Baby remix, and the point he’s trying to make becomes all too clear: his performances are totally unpredictable and blend all kinds of electronic music.
And enough ripping on this guy for not being by his laptop 75% of the time—he’s a performer, and for what it’s worth, that was one of the most entertaining shows I’ve ever seen.
In any case, whenever we needed to see someone making awesome music right before our eyes, we just cut out of Aoki’s rage-ocalypse and watched Steve Lawler work his magic.
Or sometimes I just closed my eyes and listened so I wouldn’t miss an added beat. The woods are transformed. No longer are they full of raging fist-pumping lunatics, but full of really chill people moving together, drawn by dark, tribal drums, claps, booming keyboards and about 20 other indescribable sounds, which are mixed perfectly together and match perfectly with the surroundings. Where I fail in describing the sound, you can figure it out by listening to some of this:
When we arrive for Kaskade the whole freaking stadium is filled and we’re so far back that I hardly get the full effect of the visual lights display—though I can make out his towering DJ set and the eight massive video screens projecting Dragonette in a tight red dress, who’s currently trying to seduce me amidst the strobelights…
“This is such a beautiful sight to see,” Ryan Raddon’s voice echoes from a mile away, and I wonder what this stadium—packed with tens of thousands of neon netted ragers and glowsticks looks like from up on that DJ set.
“So thankful that you guys came out! I’m just getting started!”
All I’m thinking is:
“Another night out?” Jesus…
“Another dance floor?” I’ve been to like, eight today already.
“A Dj” Check.
“A Lightshow” check.
“Alright, New England, MOVE FOR ME!”
Ryan Raddon yells to his dance kingdom, and Identity Fest ends as it should: with another thousands-deep dance party.