Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Concert Review: Ratatat

I'm gonna be honest when I say I've never been so excited but apprehensive for a concert than I was for Ratatat at the Electric Factory in Philly. I say that because I'd never been to a concert that had no vocals before and I wasn't really sure how two guys were going to make all of the instruments come together. Add to that the fact that even though I've become increasingly familiar with their last two albums, LP3 and LP4, their music can get a little monotonous when you're listening to it...it's all instrumentation!...buuutt on the flip side, the abundance of instrumentation from drums, to synths, to guitars is what made the live show something unique and increased my level of anticipation.

To start with, the setup at Philly's own Electric Factory was (again) ideal. Not too crowded in the pit, plenty of good places to view the stage and fairly solid acoustics. What baffled me, initially, was the decision to put two completely transparent frames of glass that were about 10 feet tall and a little wider than a door frame on both sides of the stage. At first I thought it was to block people from throwing stuff on stage? I mean what else could it be?

Turns out, it was to superimpose images and more frequently, images of people playing instruments, as if to create the illusion of a full band playing the instruments as if to make up for the lack of people on stage making it all happen. Turned out to be pretty awesome and if you scroll down to the last video, you'll see in the Bare Feast video what I'm talking about towards the end of the video where two cell-ists show up illuminated on stage.

Like any good live act, they had their share of creative surprises instrument wise, the first being their drum solo on the loud and boisterous track Wildcat...
Wildcat (Drum solo)

The cool thing I began to appreciate when witnessing Ratatat live, was the energy they were able to pull out of the crowd with their upbeat, electro infused dance music. The whole set I can honestly never say I saw the faces of either Mike Stroud or Evan Mast, which is usually strange to not be engaged at all by the act, but it didn't matter at all because the crowd came for the ridiculous sounds they can produce from instruments.
Case in point, their track Seventeen Years, where they rock out on dual guitars producing a sound that implored all pit attendees to get off their feet...seeing it live made me like it more outside of the concert...check it out
Seventeen Years

Luckily too, I had a dance partner the whole show too who enjoyed shakin' it, getting crazy jumpin' around at some points...hoot even grindin' all high school dance style like nobody is lookin' during tracks like Shempi. No matter what show I go to I always get two tickets because 1) I always find someone to go 2) I love sharing music and 3) I love sharing experiences with people. All of the above were satisfied quite well with a lady who hadn't even heard of Ratatat prior to the concert, but was willing to go on an adventure and trust my musical tastes. Because of all that, I had a better time than I would have had going with just about anyone else and if you're reading this, thanks again for going, I really can't wait for the next concert we get to go to....

Now if you were to ask me what makes a concert perfect, my favorite track needs to be played last. The two previous concerts I've went to, the song I really wanted to see was played first (Drake - 9 AM in Dallas and LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean), which is cool but kind of a buzz kill because its really anticlimactic. But luckily for me Ratatat knew that I had come to see Bare Feast and they rewarded me by finishing off the concert with an awe inspiring rendition....
Bare Feast

Who knows maybe it's the Irish in me, but I freakin' love that track and seeing it live did not disappoint. Although, if I were to change the chronology of songs I would have played Bare Feast as the first encore track followed by the more rowdy, tear the house down/my new favorite song by them Lex. I'm splitting hairs at this point, definitely go and see Ratatat if they even come your way, you won't be disappointed in the slightest if you value rhythm and instrumental creativity. Go check out their new album too, LP4 is off the hook.


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