Steve Aoki and Datsik at Northern Lights (2/29/2012)

6 Mar

First off, let me say that Northern Lights is and has always been a lackluster venue.  When I was first seeing concerts there almost ten years ago, it was claustrophobic and the acoustics were shitty.  Years later, the venue bought out the neighboring property, broke down a wall and now has twice the original square footage if not more.  The acoustics are still usually shitty.

Secondly, midweek concerts drive me absolutely insane.  It would be one thing if I lived in an actual metropolis, like say, New York City.  Doors open at 9 on a Wednesday night in a satellite suburb of the God-knows-why capital of New York with three acts scheduled?  I’m not happy that I’m a nine-to-fiver already; late, mid-week concerts are like a sack-tap from a chain mail glove.

Finally…February 29th.  That wonderful day afforded to us only once every four years brought garbage weather.  When I was leaving Albany for the concert in Clifton Park (usually a 25 minute drive) there was an inch of snow on the ground and it was transitioning from sleet to freezing rain.  45 minutes later I was outside Northern Lights.  Why?  Because I bought a ticket for this show weeks ago and wasn’t about to miss it!

*     *     *

DJ Prophet was on when I got inside.  He was actually enjoyable though the population of white, pre-gamed, college fist-pumpers hadn’t arrived yet (“We’ll go to the show after one more game of Kings, brah.”).  Instead, the crowd consisted of what looked to be the female graduating class of every local high school, decked out in fuzzy boots, ridiculous skirts and neon halter tops.  I listened to DJ Prophet while I sat in the loungey, expanded section of Northern Lights trying to plan out my fantasy baseball league on my phone.

As DJ Prophet’s set was winding down, I stood up and moved to the stage anticipating Steve Aoki’s arrival.  Above you can see my view of the stage as Aoki was transitioning into his set.  I wasn’t thrilled with his new release, Wonderland, but I was still very curious as to what his live show would be like.

It was certainly clubby, but not unpleasant.  His manic, bouncy energy and miming divas’ lyrics was very entertaining.

Here’s another clubbier bit…  The cameraman (seen in video) that circled Aoki for half of his set mus have got some pretty interesting pictures, particularly when Aoki left the synth and sprawled out at the edge of the stage to have his picture taken with the crowd.

Want to get any nerd dancing?  Try a remix of the Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.”  Ozma got me rocking with their cover years ago, countless DJs have done it since (I know, trust me), but Aoki had me jumping just the same.

After discovering Cassius earlier last year, I was quick to pull my phone out when I heard the same sample from “Feeling For You.”  Aoki’s sampling was pleasantly schizophrenic from Rihanna’s “We Found Love (In a Hopeless Place)” to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Aside: I really want to film a music video of two bums falling in love over a bowl of soup in a shelter singing “we found love in a homeless place.”

*     *     *

In between Steve Aoki and Datsik there was a brief intermission while his tech set up his equipment.  I looked around and was surprised at how many people had accumulated.  It was absolutely crammed considering the weather and it being a weekday show.  Kudos to Datsik.

The crowd, now well-gamed on overpriced PBRs and one-finger gin & tonics, was totally amped when Datsik came on.  I ended up shuffling (was shuffled) further into the corner which is one of the reasons why I have only one video of Datsik; space was tight, my view was a bit obstructed by a beam and people were moving around so much that it wasn’t safe to have my phone out.

The crowd, myself included, was bouncing for Datsik.  His sound was much more aggressive than Steve Aoki’s, but it provided an energetic balance and made revisiting Wu Tang and even Nirvana at one point a blast.

At around midnight, I was starting to sweat.  After all, I came somewhat dressed for the elements in jeans and a hoodie despite being surrounded by teenage girls in hot pants and pimply dudes in beaters and gym shorts (oh, and the obligatory indoor sunglasses).  What’s worse was two drunk girls had ram-jammed their way over to my corner: one of which was small and unimposing (yet surprisingly effective at crown penetration) and the other was built like Brian Urlacher.  As Datsik’s show was building up, the two started slam-dancing each other directly behind me.  Then, a few minutes later, Urlacher started grinding her ass up against mine.  She must have had 40 lbs. on me and it was so crowded that for a few minutes I was subjected to this torture with the support beam in front me my only way of staying upright.  Time to leave.

*     *     *

I’ve only been to a handful of electronic shows, but when the DJs asked to have hands in the air, including Prophet, hands were in the air at Northern Lights.  The energy of the crowd was pretty good aside from the immovable force driving me into a pole.  I was tired and hungry, but I left the show happy, sweaty and slightly deaf.  I’m glad that I braved the weather.

One Response to “Steve Aoki and Datsik at Northern Lights (2/29/2012)”

  1. shrimface March 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm #


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