In early November, Ayokay, a Los Angeles based DJ, performed at one of Philadelphia’s most iconic music venues, the Foundry at the Fillmore. The artist is known for a series of hits including “the Shine,” “Sleepless Nights,” and “Queen” (feat. Quin XCII). With Ayokay’s top song on Spotify reaching nearly 60,000,000 streams, I expected the concert to be filled with lively dance songs and an edgy light show. But to my dismay, the concert was an utter and unparalleled disappointment.
The crowd consisted of roughly 50 to 70 people in an intimate setting allowing the artist (if I can even call him that) a unique opportunity to personally engage with the audience. However, to my dismay, Ayokay felt distant and arrogant throughout the entire performance. The performer consistently yelled “Philly!” as if he were speaking to an audience of 50,000 people and seemed to ignore the chance to relate to his fans on a personal level. It seemed as if his Spotify popularity had gone to his head and has now taken on the persona of some big-shot name.
Throughout the concert, it seemed as if the artist could not make up his mind as to what type of show he wanted to perform. While his music consisted of upbeat rhythms and tones, the artist would pause in between his songs to talk about why the song was meaningful to him. Since his songs are highly repetitive, contain few words and rely on knock-off electronic beats, these sentimental breaks felt confusing and ingenuine.
Ayokay spent most of his time bopping his head and poorly dancing across the small stage rather than actually playing music. He let the same beats run for too long, as he was overtly consumed in his unrefined dancing routine. They crowd appeared unenthused by his performance. The only time the audience started unanimously dancing is when he played songs that were not his own, like M83’s “Midnight City.” Ayokay played some songs from his upcoming album, including “Think Too Much,” however, it would be difficult to call it new, as it sounded no different from anything he played throughout the course of the night. The act was such a disappointment that many individuals started leaving early, though some did stay throughout the entirety of the concert.
In sum, Ayokay’s performance was at best, tolerable. The artist’s lack of creativity, authenticity and relatability diminished the quality of the concert to a cheap excuse for EDM. The best part of the night was leaving the show and overhearing some of King Princess’s, who was performing at the stage next door to Ayokay, songs.