Macau – it may only be an hour away from Hong Kong, but as soon as you’ve stepped off of that boat, you have entered a different world entirely: the signs with Portuguese under the Chinese characters, the architecture, and the endless horde of casinos. While these sights and sounds have brought me here times before, I was here for a different reason. In the heart of the City of Dreams lies a club called Cubic, where my favourite DJ Steve Aoki performed. It was a show I’ll never forget.
I arrived around 11 – an hour after the show was advertised to begin – to a near-empty club with an even more empty stage. Cubic is a massive club – one of Asia’s largest, boasting VIP rooms so large one could easily be the size of a pub in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. The main area is massive, but the club’s downfall, or at least what I thought would be its downfall, is the size of the dance floor. The main area is almost entirely taken up by seating, something that concerned me and fellow fans alike. Those who follow this artist are used to seeing pictures of sellout crowds in massive complexes. Massive though this club may be, it didn’t seem at first like it was the right place for this kind of concert.
By midnight the party started; this was by far the swankiest show I’d ever been to. The opening DJ, who did not identify himself, played some decent tunes, but not decent enough to tear people away from their champagne and seating. What did catch everyone’s eye were the intermittent acrobatic dance performances on the stage. Later performances were done to the opener’s music, and it was something to behold. And I don’t know if this show was sponsored by Swarovsky or what, but there had to be at least a dozen gorgeous models walking around with at least a million dollars around their necks.
The club was packed around 1:30 in the morning, just in time for Aoki to take the stage. Right off the bat he got the crowd dancing all the way to the bar in the back. His music seemed so familiar but almost entirely new, as is the nature of many DJs’ live music versus their recorded tracks. What impressed me the most was how diverse his set was. You had house, trance, techno (I could go on) and all those buildups and drops that you love in an electronic show and not once did it seem repetitive – all rolled into one. An hour or two into his set he broke out the dub-step, but unlike any dub-step I’d heard before, you could easily dance to it. Admittedly this dancing was far from pretty, but it was fun as hell moving to bass so loud it blew my hair from about a hundred feet back.
Then came the things I’d seen Aoki post pictures of but never experienced. He said on Facebook that his new year’s resolution was “more cake,” and there was cake to be had – many cakes, hurled right at the crowd. Fear not, he let everyone was it down as sprayed the fans with plenty of champagne. When I was close to the stage I was pretty sure I was standing in a puddle of champagne and frosting. The raft also made an appearance. We’re not talking about some weak, poolside lounger but something built for white water rafting. It was then that I looked back and saw that the crowd had decided tables be damned and were dancing on both them and the seats. This quelled any fear I had about whether or not the size of the dance floor would be an issue.
Aoki’s set continued long into the night. He knew exactly what to do with the music to keep the crowd moving and keep things interesting. After he left, the mysterious opening DJ arrived to keep the party going as crew members tried their best to clean up the mountains of champagne-soaked confetti left behind. It wasn’t until around 6 a.m. that I called it a night, walking back to my hotel with ears ringing louder than the traffic.
I’ve been to many shows that I would call unique, but this one stands far above them all. This wasn’t just because of the extravagance of Cubic, the acrobatic shows, or the models, but because of Steve Aoki himself. The show had an energy to it I had not seen since the last time I attended one of Girl Talk’s concerts. It was a welcome change from the kind of concert you get to around six and are home by midnight. There’s something about dancing until the sun comes up that makes this the kind of live show that must be experienced. If Steve Aoki is ever in a town near you, go. It’s most certainly worth the trip.