JACKSON, Wyo. — Steve Aoki rolled through Jackson Hole this week culminating with a show at Center for the Arts last night, Jan. 12.
According to The Center, Billboard described the 2x-GRAMMY-nominated music producer, artist, fashion designer, entrepreneur, NFT futurist and Dim Mak Records founder as “one of the most in-demand entertainers in the world.” Aoki also holds a Guinness World Record for the “Most Traveled Musician in a Single Calendar Year” although this was his first show ever in Wyoming.
Ahead of his show at The Center, Aoki spent time snowboarding at JHMR, riding around with local athletes and dropped into the backcountry, accompanied by a JHMR guide.
For the first time in a long time, The Center cleared out the floor seats at the orchestra level to standing room only, opening up the space for fans to dance last night.
“All the ticket holders really stepped up and didn’t ruin it. If it got too crazy I think people might be like ‘we can’t do this anymore’ but last night was all about having a good time,” Willi Brooks, event operations director at The Center said.
“Our production team made last night what it was,” Brooks said.
Brooks said about 80% of the ticket holders were part of our Latinx community and when talking to Aoki and his manager about the demographic, “he was like sweet I’ll play to the Latinx community,” Brooks said.
“He did this Celene Dion remix of the Titanic song; it was just a fun night where everyone was having fun,” Brooks said.
Community collaboration also played a huge part in the show Brooks said. Local talent, DJ VertOne and DJ Rosie opened for Aoki beginning at 9 p.m. Aoki took the stage and played until 2 a.m.
“From all levels, we had Rosie and then Rocky after Rosie and Roxanne made the cakes; it was a truly collaborative community effort showcasing our community’s talent. That collaboration is part of what The Center is all about,” Brooks said.
One aspect of Thursday night’s show that appeared to be a huge hit was Aoki’s traditional caking of his fans.
Local baker and small business owner Roxanne Bryan was tasked with creating five cakes Aoki later used to cake his fans. Bryan owns Foxy Cakes JH. She makes custom cakes and custom frosted cookies, mostly for weddings, birthdays and holidays; not to be thrown 30 feet into someone’s face.
According to reports, Aoki got the idea to cake his crowd after watching the music video for the song ” Turn up the Volume” by Autoerotique released in 2011 under Aoki’s label Dim Mak. In the video, cakes blew up in people’s faces after blowing out the candles. In the early days of caking, Aoki would play “Turn Up the Volume” and throw cakes at fans. In 2015 he released the song, “Cake Face” which now always plays when he cakes people in the crowd.
Bryan said she was sent specific instructions with the specs and rules for how to make the cakes— just one inch of sponge cake and then a heavy layer of whipped frosting. “It is kind of like getting pied in the face but in the form of a cake,” Bryan said.
The very specific cake order created a few snags for Bryan, who had to do a little trial and error for the huge layers of whipped frosting. “I started out with a different whip cream frosting that wasn’t stable enough so I had to switch the recipe,” she said.
The cakes also all displayed a message, either, Steve Aoki, Cake Face or Dim Mak, an ode to Aoki’s record label and lifestyle brand. Each message was written in green to match The Center’s logo.
“If you told me when I started my cake business four years ago that I would eventually be making cakes that would be thrown into a crowd by a very famous DJ I wouldn’t believe you,” Bryan said.
From social media videos and photos, the crowd seems to love the cake-face moment with a few fans hopping on top of each other’s shoulders to get in the perfect position to be caked.
“I wish everyone in the community could have been there, unfortunately, we don’t have a 15,000-person capacity venue but that’s what makes it so special,” Brooks said.
Lettuce will play this Wednesday, Jan. 18 at The Center, with standing room only at the orchestra level again. “This is going to be a recurring thing,” Brooks said.