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.