Over the last several years, we’ve been seeing a growing number of artists making the move to bring their own production on tour. With leaps and bounds in technology each year, the ease and portability of these stages have increasingly become much better. Earlier this year, Datsik announced his Ninja Nation tour which would feature an all new “Shogun Stage” and the ever popular PK Sound. The time Datsik brought his own production on tour was back in 2015 when the “Vortex” saw its last go around. This year’s stage promised to be something all new and we had no idea what to expect.
While we’d caught plenty of video and photos of the stage when it debuted back in January, we still didn’t get a chance to see it for ourselves until it made its way to the PNW earlier this March. Much like the debut of Excisions “Paradox” in 2016, the photos and videos just didn’t do it justice. The combination of lights, a pagoda roofed center piece, and Shoji screen walls with back LED panels was certainly something else. The production didn’t stop there however, as Datsik himself was done-up in Ninja garb and even a custom LED dǒulì (Rice Hat). With an outrageous amount off bass paired with support from Virtual Riot, Crizzly and Kytami, the Ninja Nation Tour was a headbanger’s dream and we luckily caught the final stop in Vancouver.
We arrived slightly before doors opened and could literally feel the bass from sound check. The outside glass was shaking and we chuckled as we saw several staff members rushing for ear plugs. The night kicked of with B.C. local act Kytami who were recently added as support for the last few stops of the tour. We’d seen them earlier this month and it was a pleasure to once again see their blend of violin and bass music. With Virtual Riot and Crizzly to follow, we increasingly felt both the excitement for the stage unveiling, and rising bass level. After a brief intermission which featured both The Backstreet Boys – I Want it That Way and the Banana Phone Song it was time to kick this show to 11.
The lights dropped, a gong was rung and we were immediately hit with a wave of sweet, sweet PK Sound. The entire night we’d thought it was loud already but turns out we’d only been at about 70%. Appropriately opening with Katana, the lyric “What up ninjas” kicked off what was to be a 90 or so minute barrage of all out bass madness. The sheer amount of headbanging we’d witnessed would have been enough to power a generator for a rural city. With the curtain dropped on the Shogun stage we finally got our in-person glimpse of the production and it was incredible. It’s clear Datsik and his production crew really spent some time putting this together and everything from light cues to visuals just upped the level of the show beyond expectation.
As midnight came around we started to realize the night wouldn’t be lasting forever. As we reached the close of the Ninja Nation Tour, Datsik (Troy Beetles) took a moment to thank his fans, his crew, and pretty much anyone else who’d make this tour, and his career, possible. It’s always humbling to hear an artist take the opportunity to give thanks, especially where it’s due. It seemed fitting to close out the tour in Vancouver, in-front of his hometown crowd where he’d gotten his start years ago. With the final stop of the Ninja Nation Tour in the books, we headed for the first cab we could find and headed down to The Red Room…because our night was just getting started.