Review: Datsik brings big beat, epic visuals to the Amphitheatre in Ybor City
The foundation shook Friday night at the Ampitheatre when Canadian dubstep DJ Datsik took the stage and boomed 50,000 watts of bass in Ybor City's face.
As usual, the venue was packed with EDM fans sporting bright colored tutus and funky, furry headgear. Glowsticks dotted the sea of dancing bodies. But the intensity of this set brought the EDM experience to a whole different level. This was Datsik's 15th stop on his Firepower Tour, and oh boy did he bring the heat.
In 2009, Datsik (born Troy Beetles) had at least seven No. 1 releases on Beatport. Datsik has a huge list of collaborations, and made remixes for legendary artists including the Crystal Method, Freestylers, Bassnectar, Noisia, Diplo, Wu-Tang Clan and Apex.
His new stage features a cyclone of lights, a "vortex visual production," as his website calls it. The Miami New Times ranked it the fifth best DJ booth in EDM, beating out big names like Justice, DJ Shadow and Big Gigantic. Datsik is basically sitting inside what looks like a huge black hole, but with zooming lights and brilliant colors encompassing his small frame. Oh, and 50,000 watts exploding into our unknowing brains.
This is the future of electronic dance music. Beetles created Firepower Records in January of 2012, and this tour is sort of like the coming-out party. Some of the acts signed by the label that are hitting the road with him include AFK, Bare Noize and Delta Heavy. All are very talented and all packed a punch into their sets.
Walking into The Amp, the first thing we laid eyes on was a giant object covered by a gray tarp. It consumed the entire area of the stage. About that time, AFK was in the middle of his set. He was forced to play on a simple table on the right side of the stage. Clearly Datsik was going to be the show stopper.
AFK's songs were heavily influenced by hip hop, mixing rap samples with the famous gut wrenching dubstep drops. His remix of Chain Hang Low (with Crizzly) is a prime example of his style, and got the crowd bouncing. For the last song of his set, he crept into a remix of Sandstorm, and the crowd went wild.
Next up was the British duo Bare Noize, made up of Daniel Brown and Olive Pile. Their style went up and down the genre spectrum, mixing reggae and hip hop with crunchy rock guitars and breathy female vocals. Their remix of Through the Night was my favorite song of their set. They also did a remix of Breakin' A Sweat, by Skrillex, which features members of the classic rock band The Doors. This is one of my favorite aspects of EDM, the mixing of old and new, constant genre transitions and inspirations, and fans of all types. Dubstep is breaking the genre barrier and bringing groups of people together that, say, 10vyears ago, felt like they had nothing in common.
Delta Heavy, made up of London blokes Ben Hall and Simon James, exploded through the speakers with crowd favorites like Hold Me and Get By. They definitely got the crowed amped up and ready for the final act. About halfway through the set, you could feel the crowd getting antsy; the fog was slowly getting thicker. Some caught a glance at the lights behind the tarp starting up, teasing us with just a glimpse of what was to come. People started chanting "Dat-sik! Dat-sik!"
And then, with one swift movement, the gray tarp was removed and the epicness that is Datsik and his stage were revealed.
The crowd went ballistic and the first note shook the building and sent chills through my body. Actually, at one point I started to feel sick because the sound was literally shaking my insides. I have never felt anything like it. His remix of SBTRKT's Wildfire, mixed with the visuals of his spinning, flashing vortex, made my Top 5 list. Between the music and the energy of the crowd, I was flying high to dubstep heaven.
“I think dubstep has become so huge because it’s a complete bastardization of electronic music,” Datsik says on his website. “There’s a little bit of everything thrown in the mix and dirtied up. There are pieces of hip-hop, the bass from electronic dance tracks and the roots of U.K. garage and drum & bass…Dubstep is totally the punk rock of electronic music.”
After a performance like that, I think I have to agree with him.
-- Kate Cillian, tbt*. Photo: Josh Mann