all words: Katie Glanz
all photos: Jeff Martin
Who would have thought that a Ratatat show would have all the trappings of both a Latin/Music Theory class (references to Beethoven, Hellenistic marble, and two musical virtuosos) and a Pink Floyd concert (smoke, a light show, and a die hard fan base?)
Ratatat truly is the perfect combination of highbrow-instrumental and trippy electro-rock. Thursday’s show had just that tone. It was a nerdish delight and a fucking rock and roll show.
Guitarist Mike Stroud and producer Evan Mast ambled on stage around ten to the vibrations of heavy bass, all greasy long hair and fuck-you swagger. T’was a beautiful thing. The puzzlingly aggressive crowd thought so, and indeed it was a night of stomping, swaying, and raucous clapping. There must be something about that no-apologies electro-arena rock that makes people delightfully belligerent and ready to bad dance!
The show started off a little rocky. After the intro song, Stroud and Mast wandered around on stage for a few minutes…maybe doing some sort of last minute sound check? We were told it would be worth the wait, and it was. They proceeded to wow us with a mix of both old and new Ratatat jams.
The duo pulled out all the stops for “Loud Pipes.” Stroud is obviously intimately familiar with anthem rock and he sounded perfectly badass on this one. You can tell that this man has spent time playing guitar with Joe Satriani.
The flailing long hair, the smoke, the lights, the strange projections of Baroque celloists and wailing guitar chords over a steady back beat…how rock and roll. Can I just get it over with and make the obligatory Pink Floyd/Queen reference now? Ok done.
The duo’s rendition of “Party with Children” off their latest album LP4, sounded like space-age bossa nova and was complemented by lovely avian projections.
“Mirando,” might have had some of the best visuals. I won’t spoil it for you. Watch the video.
“Mahalo,” in keeping with the heavily stringed sounds of the new album, was a lovely islandy escape with Japanese strings and steel guitar. Like a fishing boat ride up a fictitious Southeast Asian river. (Think Apocalypse Now pre Napalm.)
And then of course “Wildcat” was awesome. I mean how can a song called “Wildcat,” which features actual wildcat sounds not be badass? NPR still hasn’t spoiled it for me, despite their repeated use of this tune as an outro during All Things Considered. The classical meets psychedelic rock aura was in full effect on this one…images of classical Graeco-Roman statuary, whirling guitar and panther roars!!!
The visuals seemed to get progressively weirder as the night wore on. “Drugs,” with its’ cello and chimes intro and subsequent descent into panicky howling guitar paired nicely with the creepiest music video ever.
The Encore was a veritable hipster-moshfest (is that an oxymoron?) Fire alarms included. What the fuck did they expect? There was a lot of smoke.
The crowd favorite “Seventeen Years” shut the place down with power chords, confetti, and holographic booty dancers.
So yes, if you missed this show, I’m sorry to say, you missed out. But no worries, you can have a similar, slightly less thrilling experience with a few Ratatat albums, Christmas lights, and an albino parakeet.