Steve Aoki, Booka Shade, Jessie and the Toy Boys, Chad Hugo
Sunday, September 4
Sunday's Identity Festival at Hollywood Palladium drew some 3,700 people, with no police or hospital issues. The venue opened to a spacious outdoor area, and a total of 19 acts performed on two stages from 1 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
There was plenty of room to dance, and glow sticks dotted the edges of the dance floor. The costumes weren't as crazy as some other dance festivals, but the laid back atmosphere and "polite" ravers set an example for the type of peaceful gathering a party should be like.
The 18+ crowd skewed on the younger side, but there were a smattering of folks who looked a little over 60, not to mention two babies and girls in hot pink tutus and latex leggings to make it a little bit interesting.
Chad Hugo, better known as one half of The Neptunes, came on a little past 3 p.m. on the indoor stage. A crowd had barely amassed at this point, with some filtering in from Riot Gear's set outside.
Hugo opened with Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now," while gesturing for the sound levels to be turned up -- way up. A couple of people gathered around and bobbed their heads to the beat while Hugo inflected a drum and bass beat to Busta Rhymes's part: " You ain't never gonna stop me/ Every time I come a nigga gotta set it / Then I gotta go, and then I gotta get it." With his right arm propped on the corner of the DJ table, Hugo said, "Mr. Soundman, Mr. Soundman can we get some volume?"
Then: "Make some noise if you want to be outside!" A few people cheered. "It's all good, we're here to have a good time," he said. Interspersing hard house, electro, reggaeton, commercial hip hop and pop, he played songs like Lumidee's "Never Leave You," Clipse's "When the Last Time," and Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." The set felt like a throwback to the early 2000s, with new beats mixed in.
As more folks filtered in, they came alive to N.E.R.D.'s "Everyone Nose." Girls twirled with boys to the lyrics: "All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom." People in shades danced with big smiles on their faces, and guys, not girls, shook their butts to "A hundred dollar bills look - Achoo! Achoo!"
Groups swung towels around their heads as Hugo spun more electro/house/reggae into Baltimore Club Music's "Tear the Fuckin' Club Up," Lil Jon & Eastside Boyz's "Chris Rock In The Club," and even Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun."
A loose break dance circle formed as Chris Rock said "We never leave the muthafuckin' club!...We go to church in da club!" The peak was Lil Wayne's "A Milli," with skinny guys in shorts doing lazy windmills, resting for a couple of seconds on the floor before getting back up to dance.
Jessie and the Toy Boys
Jessie Malakouti and her two boy toys exploded onto the stage in a burst of electro pop energy that was reminiscent of Britney Spears' music, but perkier. (If that's possible.) She had a previous tiff with the singer when Spears bit off Malakouti's 2008 "Trash Me" single with "If U Seek Amy," but all was forgiven since she opened for Spears on her 2011 tour.
The 22-year-old blonde donned a gold, black, white and mesh cat suit and opened with "Push It:" "Push it in/ Make it fit/ On the floor, peek-a-boo/ Move all night, bump and grind/ Touch myself, think of you." The boys -- in silver sparkly lipstick, Clark Kent like glasses and bondage gear -- frolicked, vogued and synchronized their dance moves.
The crowd cheered and mostly clapped along to the group's six-song playlist. The boys brought out Super Soakers and hosed down the audience to suggestive lyrics like "show me your tan lines, I'll show you mine." They went further with black leather whips after Malakouti asked the crowd if they were "ready for some sex on the dance floor."
Although no one copulated in front of the stage, a bouncing beach ball, smiles and hoots from fans mirrored the band's liveliness, which was definitely more of a concert performance than an electronica set.
Booka Shade and Steve Aoki review below.
A barely there drizzle and double rainbow in the sky greeted German house duo Booka Shade a little past 7 p.m. on the outdoor stage. They opened with a thunderous intro, with beats like a pounding alarm clock.
Then the intro faded, and Arno Kammermeier tapped animatedly on cymbals over progressive house beats to "Charlotte." Walter Merziger mixed in rhythms and harmonies on the Maschine sequencer.
Strobe lights came on and hands beat to the light. A guy waved his stick horse in the air to the playful "Donut." "We are Booka Shade all the way from Berlin," said Kammermeier.
The duo nodded their heads to the beats and occasionally looked up and smiled at each other. They looked like they were happy to play to an audience that danced through most of their set.
Guys held the lids of their caps while they closed their eyes and tilted their heads sideways while shuffling their feet methodically. Girls bounced up and down to Booka Shade's nuanced percussion.
The group was melodic, but not boringly so, and "BAD" flashed in red letters on the giant screen behind them.
Booka Shade finished with "Body Language," with Kammermeier tapping his drumsticks together and the crowd clapping in sync.
A giant clock in white neon counted down to Steve Aoki's 8:30 p.m. set on the outdoor stage. His stage props were the night's most impressive, with ten foot tall letters spelling out "AOKI" below his DJ station. "Los Angeles, are you fuckin' ready?" he asked.
The Dim Mak Records founder opened with "Brrrat," which flashed in white on the screen behind him. Aoki had one finger pointed in the air and jumped up and down, his long hair swaying.
At times he looked sort of like an Asian Jesus, with both arms outstretched and flashing lights beaming down on him and the audience. He announced a new song with Tiesto, "Tornado," that had hard electro house beats. A time lapse of L.A. filled the stage's giant screen, and he threw a blue blow up raft into the crowd and dove in, letting the audience carry him like a current back to stage.
About 20 beach balls were thrown into the crowd, and he shook up champagne and sprayed it into the sea of bobbing hands and heads. He threw t-shirts, flyers and white confetti at everyone.
Shots of Aoki getting electrocuted by lightning flashed on the screen behind him and he came down from his pedestal to perform loud, energetic numbers like "Misfits:" "Yo, we are the misfits/ We'll take you motherfuckers down/ Fuck the order, we choose disorder!"
The crowd was worked into a frenzy with his big, boisterous beats, with people at first dancing in their own style but eventually jumping up and down in unison, almost hypnotized by Aoki's fervor. His half-sisters, Devon and Echo Aoki, joined him on stage, bounced together and hugged.
Rivers Cuomo from Weezer hit the stage for "Earthquakey People," rapping to the frenetic synths and also jumping up and down with Aoki. He finished with a high five and a hug from the DJ.
Jessie and the Toy Boys, Booka Shade, and Steve Aoki set lists below.
Jessie and the Toy Boys set list:
1. Push It
4. Money Makes The Girl Go Round
5. Summer Boy
Booka Shade set list:
3. Night Falls
8. Mandarine Girl
10. Teenage Spaceman
11. In White Rooms
12. Body Language
Steve Aoki set list:
1. Steve Aoki - Brrrat
2. Tinie Tempa - Pass Out
3. Angger Dimas - Hey Freak
4. Tiesto & Steve Aoki - Tornado *unreleased*
5. New Ivory - A Knight
6. Mustard Pimp - ZHM
7. Steve Aoki & Laidback Luke feat Lil Jon - Turbulence
8. Bloody Beetroots feat Steve Aoki - Warp 1.9
9. New Noise - Refused (Beetroots & Aoki remix)
10. Steve Aoki - The Kids Will Have Their Say *unreleased*
11. NASA - Gifted (Aoki remix)
12. Bloody Beetroots feat Steve Aoki - Warp 7.7
13. Steve Aoki & Angger Dimas - Untitled *unreleased*
14. Steve Aoki feat zuper blahq - I'm In The House
15. Steve Aoki feat Rivers Cuomo of Weezer - Earthquakey People
16. Afrojack & Steve Aoki - No Beef
17. Autoerotique - Turn Up The Volume
18. Tai feat Steve Aoki - Paradise Poltergeist
19. Steve Aoki & Sidney Samson - Wake Up Call
20. Kid Cudi - Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki remix)
21. Travis Barker feat Steve Aoki - Misfits
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22. Rob Roy - Rollercoaster Baby (Muffler remix)
23. Ali Love - Diminishing Returns
24. Van Halen - Eruption
25. Bloody Beetroots feat Steve Aoki - Warp 1977