Steve Aoki crowd-surfs Kamloops

DJ Steve Aoki whips the crowd into a frenzy last Tuesday night at Cactus Jacks. PHOTO BY TONY ZHOU

Erik Nelson: Omega Contributor  Ω

Steve Aoki put on an exciting show at Cactus Jack’s last Tuesday night, living up to his reputation as one of the world’s biggest DJs.

The globetrotting DJ stopped in Kamloops in between gigs in Whistler and Colorado.  The bar was packed with a young and enthusiastic crowd for the sold out event.

Either because of the cold or the value of tickets, there were no ticket scalpers outside the club.

Aoki himself didn’t come on until around 12:30 a.m. and the push to the front by the crowd was almost immediate. This seems to be one of the major problems with famous DJs—their shows end up being more like rock concerts.

The crowd wants to be as close to the fame as possible and push forward, leaving little room or space on the floor to actually dance. This is problematic for artists like Aoki whose particular brand of electro-house isn’t that groundbreaking, but is extremely effective at getting you to move your feet.

Aoki has had a highly successful career, constantly changing his role in the creation of music. Founding his own record label only a year after graduating high school, he has released albums from an incredible array of bands and artists, including Bloc Party, MSTRKRFT, The Klaxons and The Bloody Beetroots to name a few.

He has also been successful as a performer, releasing remixes and original creations under his own name for the last couple of years. The crowd wasn’t disappointed, even with all the hype surrounding Aoki.

The night heated up with several talented local DJs including Jesse Faubert (the Diplomat), Mikael Finley and Ross Koch of Totally Boss Promotions, as well as DJ Erik-B.

The latter took the stage just before Aoki. I have seen DJ Erik-B perform many times around town, but never like this.

His mixes were inventive and novel, but at the same time floor-fillers. The crowd responded quickly and the floor was packed in a matter of seconds.

Because of communication problems, we had a bit of difficulty getting into the show and were forced to stand outside in the cold for a while.  In that short period of time, there were quite a few people walking around, unsuccessfully looking for a way to score tickets.

When we finally got into the show, the club wasn’t very crowded and had a long way to go until it filled up. Ironically, this ended up being a good thing, as it allowed people to have room to dance and move around the floor.

One of the biggest complaints about Cactus Jack’s has been the difficulty of moving through the club. The layout seems to hinder flow and movement, which in turn inspires frustration and aggression among the patrons.

Tuesday night was no different, except for at the beginning of the night when the club was only half full.

Despite these flaws in the show, Steve Aoki lived up to the excitement he inspired. His beats and mixes weren’t anything you haven’t heard before, but they inspired the crowd to stand on tables and counters and dance like the possessed.

Aoki clearly fed off the crowd’s energy and reacted like a wild man on stage, jumping up and down, screaming into the microphone and even jumping into the crowd.

Overall, the night was a success, displaying both local and international talent to a wildly enthusiastic and energetic crowd.