Review: DATSIK Goes Wild in Pontiac, MI

Those who know EDM know that DATSIK is a nightclub king. Canadian DJ Troy Beetles (aka DATSIK) got his start back in 2009. Since then, he’s mixed with an insane amount of popular artists, such as Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, and Diplo.

Even more impressive than his collab record is his live tours: a DATSIK show is a state-of-the-art sound and light show create a visual experience bound to blow the minds of electronic music fans again and again.  On April 22, at the tail end of his 2016 international “Spring Loaded Tour”, DATSIK brought his show to Pontiac, Michigan. And it was one hell of a party.

I show up to Elektricity Nightclub in Pontiac at 9:30pm, about an hour before the first act.  On this Friday evening, the whole town was asleep except for Elektricity’s neon blue glow lights. As I approached the former industrial space turned multi-level nightclub, I could already hear the bass. A sleepy town hiding an EDM venue and a massive concert inside? I had no idea what to expect. So, instead of deliberating, I walked in.

At this point, Trill Clinton and Cameron Oakley are warming up what there is of a crowd. My fellow audience members are a mix of characters, from your typical nightclub goers to your hippie-teenagers, dressed in their best interpretation of Coachella chic. The DJ’s keep it moving on stage, and slowly but surely, the crowd rolls in. Towards the end of their set, everyone loosens up a bit. It’s well after 10:00pm, and instead of wannabe festivalgoers, the floor starts to fill with tonight's expected crowd: the real ravers. These EDM diehards are dripping with typical rave attire: glow-sticks, furry boots, kaleidoscope glasses, and above all else, neon. This crowd is ready to get wacky.

The first opener, Bais Haus, nonchalantly takes the stage, and the environment immediately changes. The room is filled with louder, heavier, more screeching sounds. Bais Haus brings a ton of energy, jumping around the stage as he performs his set. The crowd goes wild at his remix of “Chronic,” by Matroda. Another fan-favorite is his remix of pop single “My Love” by Justin Timberlake. Bais Haus provides a great warm up for a crowd hungry for more: the audience jumps and dances as he throws drop after drop. As he says towards the end of his set, “This crowd is getting dirty, early.”

Then, it’s time for the show: DATSIK's touring partner, Los Angeles DJ DREZO, takes the stage dressed all in black, and brings with him an entirely new atmosphere. DREZO’s set leans towards consistently darker themes, and his light show only builds this macabre suspense. Compared to the multicolor lights and palm tree clad background of Bais Haus, DREZO’s blacklights and red lasers seem almost hellish vibe. For a moment, Elektricity feels like a nightmare – not terrifying, of course, but the kind where you wake up thrilled. His steady and consistent beats have the crowd swaying mindlessly, only to be awakened by hard-hitting,  unexpected drops. The audience’s swaying turns into jumping with his remix of “Nobody Beats The F_Cking Drum” by Tony Junior. Then, suddenly, it’s all over. The hellscape has vanished and the stage has cleared. It’s almost time for the man of the hour, DATSIK, to begin.

Around 12:40am, I am smacked in the face with what is DATSIK. The whole room seems to vibrate as his sounds bounce off walls and shake the floor. I can feel it throughout my entire body. This is no longer a club, or a concert… it’s a massive party.

The crowd goes absolutely nuts as DATSIK opens with “Let Em’ Know,” one of the most popular songs from his newest EP, Darkstar. The lights are constantly flashing in every direction. His background show changes every 5 seconds, overwhelming the audience with sound and sight. Smoke violently extends from large machines, as we lift our hands in the now-cloudy air. A woman behind me yells “OH!” as the first, blinding, room-cutting, laser beams hit. In Elecktricty Nightclub, every person has the best spot in the house, completely mesmerized. The lightshow is so thick that you feel like you can reach out and grab it. From here on out, there is no time to stop and think as DATSIK leads me through one of the most visually stimulating experiences of my life.

Soon, two dancers in body suits and go-go boots join DATSIK on stage, dancing and playing with the copious amounts of beach toys provided. We are now joined by beach balls, floaties, and even a blow-up whale. It’s clear that as long as DATSIK is still playing, the party can only grow larger.

After riling the crowd up with numerous remixes, favorites and new material from Darkstar, you’d think we would have had enough. But it was obvious that this audience could have stayed and raged with DATSIK until the morning if given the opportunity. When the show ended, the audience left looking exhausted but satisfied. My ears rang from the bass, my legs ached from jumping all night, but none of that mattered. The moment I walked out of the venue, I realized I was leaving behind a separate world with no rules, a world of music and light and sound I had no choice but to want back. That’s the magic of the experience DATSIK creates on stage.

In fewer words, DATSIK's "Spring Loaded Tour" was wild. In even fewer, you need to go.