Steve Aoki is one of the top DJs in the electronic music scene (EDM), and this was a full-circle moment for me photographing his concert! I can still remember it like it was yesterday, his show was one of the first live EDM shows I went to when I entered the scene ten years ago. It was at Wet Republic in Las Vegas, where he’s a resident DJ, and that pool party was INSANE! It was the first time I was introduced to partying in Las Vegas and attending my first real EDM festival.
This time around, I got to see and photograph Steve on my home turf of New York City at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen.
Attending a Steve Aoki concert is always a guaranteed good time. Known for “caking” his audience where he throws a literal cake into the crowd with amazing accuracy, his two sold-out shows at Terminal 5 are a testament to his stamina and ability for creating upbeat music that makes you want to dance. For some reason, I anticipated the crowd to be more of Gen-Z, but I was happy to see a range of ages, especially older, which reminded me of the EDM scene in Europe where it’s more of a lifestyle. I shouldn’t have been surprised considering how long Steve’s been in the game making music. I myself grew up with his music after all!
In 2022, I attended AdWeek’s Creator Visionary Awards and watched Steve Aoki win the Creator Visionary of the Year award. His message to everyone in the room when he accepted his award was “do weird sh*t, f*ck sh*t up, and live outside the lines” which translated to always be your full authentic self, and is something I take to heart as both a photographer and content creator.
This message also transcended to his openers, especially Timmy Trumpet. This was the first time I was introduced to Timmy Trumpet and the dude is a true entertainer who fits perfectly to hype up the audience before Steve came on. Timmy kept dancing on top of the DJ booth and the outer stage, which made my life photographing the concert much easier since there was a massive TV in front of the booth for the graphics.
In EDM, laser and graphic shows are an integral part of the experience, and Timmy’s graphics were extremely visually engaging. Like his namesake, Timmy actually plays the trumpet and would belt it out on the stage during certain songs and even threw money at the audience which was hilarious!
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