UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

DATSIK introduces Vortex Lumen 3.0 in Boston for Ninja Nation Tour


DATSIK’s light show setup, the ‘Vortex Lumen,’ created by V Squared Labs.

In an interview with the Mass Media, Canadian producer DATSIK likened hearing bass music on a laptop to watching an iTunes visualizer on a 6-bit screen. 

“You just don’t see the depth,” he said.  

Layers of these songs can only be heard with gear that produces the right low-end frequencies, like a wall of subwoofers at a live show.

Other facets of this live music experience include light displays, spectacle, and community — something that people around the world are clearly enamored with — as evidenced by the exploding popularity of electronic dance mega-festivals.

DATSIK, whose real name is Troy Beetles, played a show at the House of Blues Boston on Jan. 22, showing Boston a live bass music experience. 

Light spiraled around his silhouette as he manipulated the DJ station. In front of the stage the audience danced and jumped, the bass careening out the speakers and thickening the air. Panting and shining, revelers broke from the group to grab a drink from the bar, or water from a cluster of cups. Ripples spread across the water like in the scene from Jurassic Park when the T-Rex walks.

This gig was the first stop on DATSIK’s “Ninja Nation” tour, which includes the industry gold standard, PK Sound speakers, and a newly improved version of the ‘Vortex Lumen’ light show, the centerpiece being a giant sideways cone the DJ plays from inside. 

DATSIK at House of Blues

At the dawn of the 2010s, producers like Bassnectar, Rusko, and DATISK were championing dubstep heavier than the genre’s UK roots, finding footholds in North American markets.

DATSIK rose in popularity with songs that often boasted sinister melodies, abrasiveness, and punctuated beats. Since, he’s frequented festivals like Coachella, Shambala, and Ultra, and collaborated with artists Diplo, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Dancing in the pit

Although hip-hop characteristics have been subtly present in DATSIK’s dubstep for a long time, his newer music commits stronger. The Nov. 2014 EP, “Down 4 My Ninjas,” exemplifies this change in direction and features MC legends KRS-One and DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia. 

At DATSIK’s show at the House of Blues, his setlist traversed his career, alternating between rambunctious dubstep, newer hip-hop infused tracks such as “No-Requests (Ft. KRS-One),” throwbacks like “Big Poppa” by Biggie Smalls, as well as songs by Firepower labelmates.

Vortex Lumen 3.0

The lynchpin of DATSIK’s live setup is the conical ‘Vortex Lumen 3.0,’ which is more elaborate than its predecessors. Projectors cover it in abstract patterns and images. Sometimes, its like DATSIK’s imagination flows out of it. Other times, the current reverses, creating a colorful tugging whirlpool. 

House of Blues Boston is not rated highly on Google Reviews or Yelp; reviewers cite long waits and rude staff. On Jan. 22 the staff was courteous. The place is spacious with a large pit and second-floor balconies, and the acoustics are good. Drinkers will be happy about the number of bars — at least four.

Of the night’s openers worth mentioning is duo LOUDPVCK (pronounced, ‘loud pack’), playing a newer electronic genre called, “trap,” which combines bass music elements, chopped vocals, and production heard in the southern hip-hop offshoot of the same name. The LOUDPCK remix of Jackal’s “The Shakedown” is emblematic of the trap genre. 
Concertgoers 1

With all of the triplets, syncopation, and swing, one can ask, “How are you supposed to dance to this?” At the DATSIK show the answer was: However you want to dance.

The atmosphere was generally welcoming and positive. People wore things like banana suits, half a forearm worth of bracelets, zebra pants, or bandanas across their face, out-law style. Everyone seemed too focused on having fun with each other and being friendly to be judgmental or self-conscious. 
Concertgoers 2

A show like DATSIK’s obviously isn’t for everyone, because EDM isn’t. But if you’ve only enjoyed electronic songs through laptop speakers or headphones and never been to a live show, you aren’t getting the experience that other enthusiasts are.