Albumless since The Great Soundclash Swindle in 2004, the Hawaii-raised Keoki needs only his turntable and some candy-chomping dance kids to turn a nice, innocent club into a scene from some Caligula-flavored 28 Days Later. It didn't always used to be this way for America's (self-proclaimed) superstar DJ. Okay, that's a lie. It did. At age sixteen, Keoki hatted out to New York and eventually caught a break by earning a DJ slot at Danceteria. This led to a legendary residency at Limelight for the weekly party Disco 2000, where he fell in on-again/off-again love with Michael Alig, de facto king of New York's club kid subculture. During the first half of the Nineties, Alig's decadent army dragged its fabulous parties everywhere, occasionally into unconventional hotspots such as Burger King and the "cardboard cities" of the street bums.
But all fun -- if completely fucked up -- things do come to an end, and this time the end had a CSI angle. In 1996, Alig and an accomplice murdered drug dealer Angel Melendez, and Alig's subsequent arrest and conviction marked the end of an era. (The period was famously chronicled in James St. James's memoir Disco Bloodbath, and in its film version, Party Monster).
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Keoki thus took his records and lip liner and set off for new musical adventures, experimenting with cross-genre mix releases that embraced everything from punk to dance to darkwave and back again. Among his recent achievements is a house re-engineering of Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," a gay-disco high dive over which the Scissor Sisters and Dirty Sanchez have to be kicking themselves for not having attempted it.
DJ Keoki, Jason Tyler, Dracula's Daughter, Lucho, Jean Vega, Monte, and Tox vs. Technic perform beginning at 10:00 p.m. Friday, June 15, at Area 51, 950 NE 2nd Ave, Miami. Tickets cost $15; ages 21 and older admitted with ID. Call 305-358-5655, or visit www.area51miami.com.
And if Keoki thinks the Area 51 show needs a shot of adrenaline (or if there are enough handheld signs sprouting from the audience to demand it), you're likely to hear the Speed Racer theme song. -- Eric W. Saeger