New-kid-on-the-block rockers make a memorable appearance
Freshman electronic rock outfit DATS opened up the Red Marquee on Friday, festival-goers steadily streaming in and immediately head-nodding along and bouncing around to the electronic driven rock of the freshly formed four piece unit. Frontman Wataru Sugimoto controlled keyboard and sampler duties, with what sounded like Gallagher brother’s-esque lyrical stylings, sung fully in English. The bands sound was clean and tight, with both live drums and electronic drum machine loops providing a backing to DATS straight-up electronic rock formula, rounded out by members Takuya Iwara, Tomoki Hayakawa, and Kazuya Oii on bass, guitar, and drums respectively.
Trying to make a statement that might set them out from peers they’ve recently ridden a wave of hype to stardom with, the band took a few risks in their mid-day set. Halfway through, the mood gave way to more loose and distorted rock, then the band brought out two guest rappers on a couple tracks, injecting a bit of unexpected hip-hop edge into their usual electronic rock feel. It seemed the audience was taken off guard with this sudden change and initially didn’t know how to respond, but soon shook off their confusion and got into it, cheering loudly as the guest rappers exited the stage.
On the set’s final stretch, DATS winded down the tempo and spiraled into more chilled out rock with atmospheric electronic touches. Riding the previously mentioned wave of recent popularity among their similarly young and cool Japanese rock peers, it will be interesting to see if the band can channel more into its original sound and identity and rise higher in the young Japanese rock scene.