Gig Reviews

Durex You+1 Festival – Steve Aoki, Rudimental And Flight Facilities – 14/10/2012

There was a lack of condoms present. “A condom-branded event and no free condoms?” This loud proclamation was echoed by awkward chuckles down the line onto the boat. Instead, their outstretched condom-hungry hands were filled with drink tickets to ease their cravings. Durex, you subtle dudes. As the partygoers hustled to the bar for free drinks, a swarm of photographers preyed on every Kodak moment imaginable. I’ve never seen as large a proportion of social snappers at an event. It seemed like every fifth gent was pulling a camera from his jocks! Reason being, You+1 festival had taken over The Starship inviting a sexy crowd that had one motive in mind – party to some of dance music’s finest DJs on a perfect Sydney Harbour day.

Interesting side note: minority of beards present (finally my hairless face fitted in!)

Rudimental kicked things off with a dynamite DJ/MC pairing. The act played through a host of songs zoning in on the best of what the UK dance scene is exporting right now. The honest and heartfelt track Spoons absorbed the vibrant sun that bounced off the water’s surface, warming the bodies of those dancing soulfully in the spacious lower deck dance hall. The DJ set spanned many genres of UK dance, delving into the bass spectrum with some drum ‘n’ bass bangers, building to Feel the Love as the MC shouted “I can definitely feel the love right now” in his cockney drawl.

A journey out onto the roof deck was greeted with the real view – none of this 360-degree tinted glass bollocks. There were fun tiki vibes provided by bamboo fencing, plants, and giant tiki statues housing the edges of the boat and the two slick pilots manning the DJ booth. With the sun beaming down, there was no better place to be, Coronas in hand and listening to Flight Facilities DJ live. The chilled set of laid-back minimal and deep house mixed in with their brilliant production efforts nicely. Brows were creased as heads tilted upwards into the sky and sung the lyrics to Foreign Language and Crave You in sheer ecstacy. As a sole seagull glided low overhead in time with the boat, many bodies swayed to new single With You and funky remixes of Miike Snow, Daft Punk and Friendly Fires.

Signalling Steve Aoki’s arrival at the end of their set resulted in a stampede of bodies to the dance hall, snapping the audience out of their tropical trance and into the realisation that the chilly night was upon us and one of the world’s best DJs was about to vibrate the ocean floor.

Arriving unpronounced, Steve Aoki appeared, to complete rapture from his fans. He even had his hands kissed like royalty by one overly keen fan, flailing at him over the barrier. Wasting no time, he hyped the crowd on the mic before dropping into a heavy song with a distinctive trap flavour. Before the song had even finished though, the sound cut out completely and he was left wandering around stage aimlessly – even dropping to his knees in frustration at one point – as the sound techs tried to fix the problem. Chants of “Steve-y, Steve-y, Steve-y” echoed the most Australian way we know how of showing support, and he was back in full force after a few minutes of confusion with a monstrous dubstep track. The crowd lost complete control of bodily function and flailed wildly as Aoki threw himself into the crowd and crowd surfed to signal the real start of the party.

To say Steve Aoki plays loads of EDM genres is missing the point. The point is more imbedded in his philosophy of music. He picks the heaviest, most mind-blowingly intense tracks imaginable from each EDM genre. I could swear he adds layers onto already renowned tracks by artists like Skrillex to further the mindlosingness. Can I now mention his bag of tricks? Cheers. The only other act I’ve ever seen with so many insane nut-busting tricks is Rammstein, and although a penis cannon (circa- Big Day Out 2011) would have been fitting for this condom-sponsored party, Aoki brought the party in his own signature style. It started with the champagne showers (no cringeworthy song to match), shaking it up, spraying it and spitting into the front rows in between taking healthy swigs.

Aoki spent as much time on the stage/in the crowd as behind the decks. Pre-planned set? Who cares! He made the crowd weak at the knees with his antics. Pulling out his inflatable boat, he went crowdsurfing on a boat…on a freaking boat. Why the hell not! His musical prowess was then showed by dropping the trademark beat of Public Domain’s Bass in the Place London underneath the track that brought us all to our knees – Warp 1.9. He slowed things down a notch with remixes of Kanye West and Major Lazer’s stunning track Get Free before he segued into a new rave-worthy single Piledriver that he’s released with Ozzie bass champions Knife Party. To top things off for the big finale, he pulled a bazooka-like liquid nitrogen-filled smoke cannon and sprayed it generously over the crowd, its icy tendrils cooling the sweat off the hot mess of a moshpit that he’d created.

Andrew WK take note – this is how to party!

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