Datarock Mix Beats and Sounds at the El Rey
Red hooded jumpsuits, red slip-on Vans, red plastic cups, and dark sunglasses. Jerry from "Devo" was in the audience. There wasn't Kool-Aid but there was a cultic herd of followers.
Datarock took the stage as driving drum and bass thumps shook the foundation of the El Rey. They said, "We came all the way to L.A. to make you dance!"
Their instruments were all white and retro-futuristic… seriously, they had the same guitars as Bill and Ted did in their Excellent Adventure! You know the ones, compact V-body with no heads! It was amazing… The "Y" in "YAMAHA" on the drum-set even had an added line to resemble an anti-cross.
The Norwegian dance-punk group, Datarock, were in the US to promote their new album "Red." Aside from their gorgeous instruments, the show was phantasmagorical. They played in front of projections of rotoscoped animation with scenes of riders in red hoods on bicycles, outer space dog fight battles, and screen shots of Molly Ringwald. The entire band oozed energy and perspiration across the stage.
You could smell the energy. Datarock played twice as loud as either of the opening bands. There were frantic synthesizer and saxophone solos by Ketil Mosnes at every open space in the music. Fredric Sanroea commanded the audience's attention and bodies to bend and rattle at his will in a crowd jazzercising routine.
When he asked the audience if anyone knew the running man, three girls ran onstage. None of them knew the running man. In fact they could barely step to the beat. Datarock didn't care, they danced with them… then in front of them. Eventually they dragged more girls onstage who couldn't dance.
One girl unzipped Sanroea's hoodie unveiling his fuzz-laden chest as she grinded Mosnes' leg during one of his many sax solos. Sanroea screamed, "L.A. you are our favorite city to visit, I really mean it!"
As the first few bars of their radio hit "FA FA FA" came on, Sanroea decided to toss his jacket into the crowd. I don't know how many people I stomped over to try and get it but someone must have been stomping faster. He then proceeded to play a wicked guitar solo standing on the bass drum.
For their single "1984" Datarock sauntered around the stage as they performed their lyrics to a track. They're lyrics sampled from the hit musical "Grease" and they sampled one another's face with their mouths. Not to mention there was a lot of moose-knuckle going on up there.
For their finale, they crowd surfed the undulating ocean of fans and had a fake b-boy battle where Sanroea performed "the worm" prompting enthusiastic whoops and hollers from the adoring crowd.
Then they all jumped around switching instruments until Tarjei Strom busted out a deadly solo on the Satan drums in an explosive climax of audio-gasmic ecstasy.
Along came the encore and Datarock humbly invited up the openers, KAV and Esser, as they had a sing-a-long with the crowd to "Time of My Life." "This was in memory of Patrick Swayze," said Sanroea, "L.A. I think we love you!" Music fan Canon Olivier, 20, had only this to say, "It was epic!"