If Willy Wonka were ever to give up the world of chocolate making and put his Oompa Loompas into the rock circuit, Datarock would surely be the end result. The vertically-challenged Norwegian outfit bounce energetically on to the Luminaire stage clad in their signature matching red hoodie tracksuits and sunglasses â€“ but their blistering, tight set will prove the band are more than just a comedy joke.
Another Norwegian export (for those of you not in the know), their garage rock background comes through in heavier songs such as â€˜The New Songâ€™, explained away when lead singer Fredrik comments â€œWhere weâ€™re from, all anyone plays is black metal!â€ But itâ€™s their concept songs that they really shine through the set, such as the excellent â€˜Computer Camp Loveâ€™ â€“ essentially Greaseâ€™s â€˜Summer Lovinâ€™ reworked as an anthem for spurned computer geeks, with piss-take falsetto call-and-responses "Did you get in her pants/sheâ€™s not that kind of a girl, booger/why, does she have a penis?" Their nod to 80â€™s references continue not just in their Devo-esque sound, but in songs â€˜Ugly Primadonnaâ€™, (â€œET and Eliotâ€¦.does anyone think that whole thingâ€™s kinda strange?â€ wonders Fredrik) and â€˜Molly Ringwaldâ€™, right through to their encore exit cover track â€˜Iâ€™ve had (The Time Of My Life)â€™ â€“ for these guys, it seems itâ€™s definitely acceptable in the 80s.
Strong choruses, catchy hooks and refrains with a pounding bass pick up the tempo for â€˜I Used To Dance With My Daddyâ€™ and â€˜Princessâ€™, before smashing it with a fast-paced version of their biggest track â€˜Fa Fa Faâ€™ â€“ the infectious syncopated beats and thick bass chords getting the crowds moving â€“ this is definitely Datarock in their element. Squeezing every last drop of funk out of the tune, Fredrik leads the crowd in a sing-off, while the keyboardist launches himself on to the intimate crowd in â€“ literally â€“ a mini crowd surf. Itâ€™s raucous, weâ€™re laughing, someone breaks out a saxophone and the tune keeps poundingâ€¦.you get the feeling this is EXACTLY why Datarock got into music. And for that, we should all truly be thankful.