Change, as they say, is usually for the better. In the case of September 4th’s IDENTITY Festival, moved from San Bernardino to Los Angeles mere days before the event, the organizers got the night right.
The inaugural IDENTITY tour, brought on by Skullcandy, Rockstar Energy, and a plethora of youth lifestyle sponsors, planned stops in 20+ cities over the Summer, touching down at the Hollywood Palladium this past Sunday. Featuring headliners such as Steve Aoki (whose Dim Mak Records hosted the outdoor stage), Pretty Lights, The Disco Biscuits, Kaskade, Afrojack, Skrillex, Rusko, The Crystal Method, NERO, and a long grip of up-and-coming electronic and livetronica acts, the first of hopefully many years of ID tours didn’t necessarily ‘go off with out a hitch’ (issues about sound, times, schedules plagued a few of the stops – nothing out of the ordinary for a large festival tour, however), but for the most part, has been lauded as a huge success. A success not only for ID, but also for the current and sustainable future of electronic music.
With just a few days before the San Bernardino event was scheduled to lift off, the organizers announced a stirring change of locale for the coming tour stop. Instead of the San Miguel Amphitheatre in SB, IDENTITY would now be held in LA (thankfully, if you have any experience with the city/population of San Bernardino…). But… The Palladium? What? A 4,000 max indoor venue? As much as questions abound to who would still be playing, ticket reimbursements (ID would smartly honor all passes and tix without question), and set times, was also the pertinent question: “How in the hell are you going to hold a traveling electronica festival at The Palladium?”
The answer came in a unique, indoor/outdoor, dual-Main Stage solution. Steve Aoki and Dim Mak would host the outdoor stage (fresh with a generous parking lot dance area and all concessions), while The Palladium’s historic floor would welcome those looking to escape the LA sun. The Dim Mak stage featured a line-up as eclectic as Aoki himself, with Hercules & Love Affair, Booka Shade, Jessie & The Toy Boys, Afrobeta, and more joining the Asian DJ sensation (who – and let’s be honest here – kind of looked like a scary, Asian Jesus at times…). Hercules & Love Affair, probably a bit outside of their normal realm of fans (ravers grooving to ‘80s synth-funk? I’ll fux with it), put on a helluva show. With three interchangeable singers/dancers leading the way, the lot would quickly fill up. Happy grooves for over-smiling people – never a bad combination. Next to run the stage would be Booka Shade. In Europe, these Germans (who many credit with birthing the Frankfurt house scene, years ago) are legends. In the U.S. (although still not universally-know), their seldom appearances almost always see them on the headlining bill. For at this point, organizers know: even if the crowd hasn’t turned on to them yet, they will. As if to symbolize the coming dance party, the skies suddenly opened up. A 30-second drizzle eased the crowd, eventually yielding the unthinkable: a double freakin’ rainbow. Cries of “Double Rainbow! What does it MEAN?!” could be heard throughout Hollywood, and immediately set a euphoric the tone for the audile-pounding that was to come. And pound, it did.
Simply put, Steve Aoki is a rock star. Standing some 40 feet above the crowd – fronted by four massive, light-show-ready letters bearing his name – Aoki ear-fucked (is there really a better term?) the hysterical LA crowd for almost two hours, highlighted by new tracks produced with Tiësto, Afrojack, Boody Beetroots, and Laidback Luke, and remixes of Kid Cudi, Van Halen, Travis Parker, and New Noise. Spot of the night may have been the impromptu appearance of none other than Weezer’s (QRO live review) Rivers Cuomo, who would take the stage to join Aoki on their new single together, “Earthquakey People”. After having just seen Aoki melt faces at Pacific Fest (QRO recap) a few weeks back (almost to the point of greed), we’re glad to say that his LA show topped any that we’ve seen in the recent past. Keeping the dance floor vibrating throughout, and tossing new life into his trademark champagne poppin’, stage divin’, waterfloat-ridin’ antics, Aoki killed the place. Check the set list below – 25 tracks of his best, eaten up by one frantic Hollywood crowd.
While the madness soared outside, The Palladium’s classic dance floor was kept moving all day and night long. Chad Hugo, Doorly, Le Castle Vania, The Crystal Method, Pete Tong (of BBC Radio One fame), The Disco Biscuits, and Pretty Lights shared the stage, keeping the feet moving well into Monday morning. The Disco Biscuits and Pretty Lights need no introduction, as their live shows and multi-genre following could sell out Hollywood by themselves; but rejuvenated acts like The Crystal Method, house legend Pete Tong, and LA-favorite Le Castle Vania held it down just the same. Tip for anyone looking to party hard and not feel like the weird kid: go see a Le Castle Vania show. Emo-metal-disco, with a flair for the dramatic = if you’re gonna get filthy, you might as well do it with Dylan.
Congratulations to ID for pulling off an impressive switch in such a short time. We’ll definitely see you again, next year.
For a choice few of the set lists from IDENTITY Fest LA, check it below.
Disco Biscuits Set List:
Portal To An Empty Head
Run Like Hell
Booka Shade Set List:
In White Rooms
Steve Aoki Set List:
Steve Aoki – Brrrat
Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
Angger Dimas – Hey Freak
Tïesto & Steve Aoki – Tornado *unreleased*
New Ivory – A Knight
Mustard Pimp – ZHM
Steve Aoki & Laidback Luke feat. Lil Jon – Turbulence
Bloody Beetroots feat Steve Aoki – Warp 1.9
New Noise – Refused (Beetroots & Aoki remix)
Steve Aoki – The Kids Will Have Their Say *unreleased*
NASA – Gifted (Aoki remix)
Bloody Beetroots feat Steve Aoki – Warp 7.7
Steve Aoki & Angger Dimas – Untitled *unreleased*
Steve Aoki feat. zuper blahq – I’m In The House
Steve Aoki feat. Rivers Cuomo of Weezer – Earthquakey People
Afrojack & Steve Aoki – No Beef
Autoerotique – Turn Up The Volume
Tai feat Steve Aoki – Paradise Poltergeist
Steve Aoki & Sidney Samson – Wake Up Call
Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki remix)
Travis Barker feat. Steve Aoki – Misfits
Rob Roy – Rollercoaster Baby (Muffler remix)
Ali Love – Diminishing Returns
Van Halen – Eruption
Bloody Beetroots feat Steve Aoki – Warp 1977