Arts & Entertainment, Events, The Muse

Datarock rock Boston

Three 80s inspired electronic bands put on great, high-energy shows at the Paradise on Monday. The bands, all hailing from overseas, each knew how to rock an electric keyboard.

The first up opener was Karin Park, a Norwegian electro-rocker backed by David Park on drums. The music was decent, but it was Karin’s stage presence all of her own that made her stand out ‘-‘- with leopard print leggings and an unflattering mesh shirt, Park had an almost masculine appearance, accented by her jet-black cropped hair.

Nothing about Park’s form or her movements seemed natural: much more staccato than it seemed she intended to be, each movement proving almost awkward, but everything about her wove together into some weird sex appeal that kept the small audience riveted. Both Park and her music had a dark edge to it, moving from poppy songs to more intense as she stared down the crowd and muttered, ‘I’m going to read you guys a poem.’

Esser, the second band of the lineup, was a British caricature of electropop. Each band member shuffled on stage almost looking like uptight characters of the outsiders, each outfitted in a collared, short-sleeved shirt buttoned up to the very top. Each of Esser’s songs were somewhat short and unremarkable, with lots of heavy chords and lines repeated too often, but they still managed to put on a very high energy and fun show. Everything about the band seemed to mock itself, beginning each song with a prerecorded fade in; ‘I Love You’ began with many pop culture resonant ‘I Love You’s’ and a look of sincerity on the lead singer Ben Esser’s face. It was unmistakable that Esser was having a great time.

But, even with two solid performances to begin the night, Datarock stole the show. From the moment they walked on stage in matching red sweat suits with ‘Datarock’ up each identical arm, to near the end when each member abandoned their instrument and let the prerecording stand alone to dance with the crowd, the audience was enthralled.

Before performing a single piece, Datarock broke the news, in their comical Norwegian accents, that Patrick Swayze had passed away earlier that day; in his honor they began their set with a moment of silence while ‘She’s Like the Wind’ played and they, arm in arm, slowly swayed to the 80s classic. A single lighter was held a loft. This unusual beginning set the tone for the rest of the show perfectly.

The music was offbeat, fun electro rock with titles such as ‘The Blog’ and ‘Computer Camp Love.’ While the music not great, the band was constantly interacting with the crowd and pulling stunt after stunt, making the music almost an afterthought. The bassist somehow managed to play the majority of the show turning in a constant circle.

As with the previous bands, Datarock seemed to be somewhat eighties inspired, matching the show in which they asked each audience member to name their favorite eighties movie and invited anyone on stage to dance, as long as they only danced the running man.

And while attendance barely cracked 40 people, the crowd was more than enthused ‘-‘- something especially hard to reach in a half empty venue. Datarock seemed to reach everyone, from they thirty-something’s in ties, to the line of college kids front row rocking the hipster shuffle.

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