NEW YORK, NY—As I meandered through the streets of New York pre-show, my eyes were sent in many directions in order to taking in the gorgeous city lights. The city however, was surpassed by the lightshow I inside Terminal 5. Ratatat are well known for their intense musical productions and I was eager to experience it for myself.
The show kicked off with Bobby Birdman, an artist who, when he plays, seems to caress his keyboard in genuine passion for his music. His ability to create anticipation for his next delivery was formidable. Dom, a four-piece, was sandwiched in the middle of the bill. Aside from the slightly squeaky vocals, the instrumentals were remarkable, particularly the bass that successfully sped up my heart rate.
After a lengthy wait, the only downside of the night’s remaining hours, Ratatat wandered on stage to a sold-out venue. It even took some chanting to get what we wanted. They were absolutely worth the wait, creating a world their own on stage. It’s simply mind-blowing that just two people can blow up a stage the way they do. The band consists of Mike Stroud, on guitar and keys and Evan Mast, on bass and keys.
“Mirando,” was the point that I really got emotionally involved in the show. And I wasn’t alone as I looked around the wide-eyed, awe-stricken eyes of my concert peers that night. Ratatat’s use of synthesis techniques are paired up with energetic beats that make their tracks complete with no need for vocals.
Their melodious arrangements alone were enough to leave the customer satisfied, but the lightshow and film clips complete the package. The music aspect is not entirely premeditated. There was a lot of improvisation going on. If you aren’t familiar with their album work, this is made obvious by the two meeting center stage, deliberating, and parting their separate ways to tear up the stage some more. Standing still at this show is not an option. I’m telling you, your body won’t let you do that while listening to a song like “Drugs.”
The highlight of the evening was their performance of “Wildcat.” Mast and Stroud stood side-by-side jamming on their individual floor toms while the lighting played up the beat. It was overwhelmingly well done. The roaring of the wildcat scattered through the song even more blaring live.
The synthetic buildup they create through each song in the set and during the performance’s entirety is glorious. They act like mad scientists in their lab full of musical toys. Stroud, in particular, is heavily interactive with the audience. Simultaneously generating insane riffs and bending backwards always got the crowd going. Mast, on the other hand, remained rather composed through the show. Their on-stage personalities balanced perfectly. Speaking of balance, the stage set-up was almost completely symmetrical in compliance with their equality in skill. Strings, percussion and keyboards were accessible to both.
At first, I was surprised by the young audience that was attracted to the duo. But, as I pushed myself through the crowd and made my way over to the bar, I noticed that people of all ages were thoroughly enjoying the masterpiece being made on stage. It was probably the idea of getting kicked in the face by the attempting crowd-surfers that made the back seem like a better choice. Or maybe it was just the convenience of having their next drink right there. Either way, I was pleased to see the diversity of Ratatat’s fan base.
Having been a huge fan for a few years now, it was incredible to see them in concert. I’ll be honest, though. It’s a little hard to go back to their albums after experiencing their live delivery. I’ll be first in line if they decide to release a live CD. The pairing of lightshow and musical composition is entirely worth the sore legs that are going to be there the next day.