I was always a little skeptical of the myth that is the Ratatat live performance. I’d grown up on a diet of Ratatat’s 9 beats and Classics,but never felt compelled to see them live. Somehow I couldn’t see them recreating the magic of tracks like Wildcat or Seventeen Years on stage with just the two of them.
But I couldn’t put it off any longer- I had to see what the boys could bring to the table, now that they have an extensive back catalogue under their belts and a genuine crossover hit with Cream on Chrome finally bringing Ratatat the mainstream recognition they thoroughly deserve.
After a lengthy delay with lots of busy, annoyed looking roadies and a few fully suited firemen pacing about the venue, the pair from Brooklyn finally emerged on stage and launched into Pricks of Brightness. Well, I say launched, but really they just kind of flopped into it, and despite the impressive visuals behind the pair, unfortunately their regular set opener sounded flat as all hell. Unfortunately for a majority of the front section of crowd, it was a little too obvious that it was just two failed metalheads having a shred on a weak sounding guitar over a backing track. Not a good start.
But luckily for us, track number two on the menu was the much loved Loud Pipes, which reminded us to stop being critical little bitches and just enjoy the experience for what it really was-two guys having a great time and an audio-visual engineer bustin his chops up the back to some great tunes.
Midway through Lex my inner 15 year old couldn’t help but freestyle a few terribly white-sounding lines over the top. Ratatat is made for white-boy freestyle.
The boys crashed through a diverse range of tracks from their past albums, with the tribal, experimental sounds of LP3, the flair of LP4 and classics from…Classics. The light show was pretty speccy,with stadium quality laser beams cutting through the smog in the room, and mind-bending visuals perfectly accompanying the tracks, from bird themed percussive breakdowns to a vocoder-mouthed Frieda during the aptly named Drugs.
Whilst Ratatat don’t bring a lot to the table live other than some Van Halen style shredding and excellent silhouetted rockstar moves, and the music itself can begin to feel a little repetitive after a while, the show was certainly intriguing, and gave you plenty to occupy yourself with throughout. And if for nothing else, you can enjoy yourself just watching how lovely it is to see guitarist Mike Stroud living his little shredder dream on stage.
WHAT THEY SAID
– Mike Stroud
WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE
Lots of lasers and bad-dream imagery. Unfortunately no photos were taken due to a request from the band for no pit photography.