all photos: Josh Sisk. Full set here
Any band whose name reminds me of a little drummer boy automatically warrants my attention. Any band whose live instrumental stylings make me dance like a rave party while thinking of Slash from Guns and Roses automatically warrant my adoration. After Thursday’s performance I am completely converted to the Ratatat fan club.
Ratatat are a rare find amongst the blog o sphere’s plethora of catchy indie dance bands. The Brooklyn duo’s debut album “Ratatat” caused some ruckus and songs like “Seventeen” became instant hits. Their signature instrumental sound—80s inspired guitar solos that mix wonderfully with the heavy bass and retro synth sounds—was further perfected on their second album “Classics”. Just listen to “Wildcat” and you’ll simultaneously want to rip off your clothes (sexily) or be featured in some 1970s Peter Sellers comedy. Just enough sexy and just enough retro. Now, on tour with their third album LP3, they continue to hone their skills and bring us a different take on dance music.
Now you know how some bands sound really good on album but not live or vice versa? Well, the rare time when a band sounds just like their album (and that album is super) you have to proclaim that concert a success. Because, to be honest, I don’t want to hear any different takes on songs or some new wild interpretation. For the most part, if I liked an album, that means I liked it the way it was. When I see a band live I expect things to be on par with the album I enjoy. Maybe I am boring. I don’t know.
Ratatat delivered what I had grown to know and love about them. Oh, that and HAIR. The entire show was a mesmerizing display of Hair. Guitarist Mike Strouds’ stringy long hair wisped about his face while he convulsed his entire body in true rock star guitar passion. The keyboardist/synth player ( not sure who that was) who accompanied them on this tour had a gigantic afro and crazy facial hair. I swear, I could not stop staring at his head the entire time. Not to mention he was convulsing and bopping to the beat pretty violently as well. At one point, I got up close to see the glory that was his head and his pale skin was in such contrast with the dark facial hair and afro, I almost thought it was fake.
The enthusiastic Thursday crowd had one thing on their mind: To dance. And dance they did. The multi-layered sounds mixed with (fill in the name) genre set on a continuous catchy hook made each song 3 minutes of pure joy. A mélange of all three albums was played beside an interesting visual display that seemed to be centered on scenes with fire. Strouds’ finesse with the guitar was reminiscent of long extended hair band guitar solos (with much less sleaze and much more gusto). A quickie hour-long concert was topped off by an encore performance of the always popular “Seventeen” leaving the crowd in the midst of a dance frenzy. Leaving on a high note never looked so good.