Review: Steve Aoki at The Venue

Aoki instantly created a powerful, electrifying energy. He started off strong, sampling music by artists like Drake, Bloc Party, Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dog, and Kid Cudi, getting us pumped for more, the bass bumping so loud I could feel it pulsing in my body, the mass of people around me jumping and dancing nonstop all throughout. There were flashing lights and glow sticks as far as the eye could see. At that point, nothing could bring me down.

I admit, I was once skeptical about the value of electronic music. As a musician, I had an automatic bias against the idea of what I thought these artists did — plug in laptop, hit play, get party started. But after my trip to Ultra Music Festival in Miami a couple of months ago, I gained a whole new respect for producers, DJs and the electronica genre as a whole. Some of these DJs are using other artists' music, but re-purposing it, mashing tracks together, in some cases matching up the proper keys and rhythms perfectly. They're taking old music and making it new, giving music lovers across the globe another chance to dance to a song that might not ever be played live otherwise.

And that's not all I respect about Steve Aoki. I just saw him play for more than 25,000 people at UMF, and I saw him play in Tampa for roughly 200, and he gave his all in both settings. Aoki is a truly passionate artist who loves what he does, and loves to see his fans dance, no matter how many of them may be in attendance.

By the time his set at The Venue came to a cloase, I was covered in sweat (and the beer some chick spilled on me), but I finally realized why I love going to shows like this: the atmosphere and crowd might stink, but it's not about them, it's about the music, and how it keeps us going through the hard times, reminds us of the good times, and brings people together that normally would never get along. While I might not ever want to see these people again, it's still a beautiful thing.


Calling Steve Aoki a multi-tasker would be the understatement of the year. Not only is he a globally-known electro-house musician, but he's also a record producer and owner of Dim Mak Records, a label he started in 1996. Aoki stopped by The Venue in Clearwater last week to perform another mix-masterpiece.

This was my first time at The Venue, and it will likely be my last. While the space is chic and plush (someone obviously put some money into it) with a sweet upstairs and balcony that looks out onto the main stage, the people that filled the space were insufferable. The staff was rude and unhelpful. The patrons were a mix of annoying college frat boys, drunk and scantily-clothed chicks, and your run-of-the-mill douchebags. I felt like I was living in an episode of Jersey Shore, set adrift in a sea of screen-printed t-shirts and cloying cologne. Luckily, I was able to put it all behind me the second Aoki took the stage.

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