Words by Steve Melone | Photo by Asger Carlson
Brooklyn based duo, Ratatat, made a stop uptown at Hammerstein Ballroom to show off their skills as both multi-instrumentalists and visual performers as they near the end of another tour. Members, Mike Stroud (Guitar/Synth/Percussion) and Evan Mast (Producer/Bass/Synth/Percussion) brought everything they had to eager fans who stood open mouthed and wide eyed within the walls of the famous Manhattan Center.
A high-end, electric frequency built quietly, alerting the fans it was time to get things started. The sound continued gaining intensity, treble and volume as it would crescendo then burst, revealing a prominently bright, “Ratatat” on the back screen. A conjoining bass entered the ears and chest of the audience next, letting everyone know they’d be hearing and feeling every bit of sound. These low-end, bass driven impacts to the solar plexus were recurring throughout the night.
Both members went onstage, starting with Magnifique’s initial track, “Intro.” The song started quiet and slow, but suddenly let out a single treble stricken note. Perfectly in sync with the timing, a laser beam shot out precisely above my head. Easily the most vivid, light-saber-like laser I had ever seen sat there while the note rang out. Laser lights were companion to the music throughout the show, bringing a visual element to the vast sonic landscape presented by Ratatat.
Images were projected on screens to the left, right and center of the stage. Running eight-armed babies, gray parrots and exploding Greek statues were just a few things seen on screen. Mike Stroud ripped it on guitar for the majority of the show, full of energy and charisma, bouncing to the drums and keyboard, even twisting knobs with his mouth when necessary. Stroud was the only one to speak during the show, saying things like, “Thanks,” “Thank you,” even getting so personal as to mutter, “Thanks so much.” It was as if he was subliminally saying to the crowd, “Hey, I know I’m absolutely killing it up here, but I gotta get back now, if you don’t mind.” And he’d be totally justified to say so.
The crowd’s energy was palpable during favorites like, “Seventeen,” “Abrasive,” “Loud Pipes,” “Wildcat,” as well as their newest, most popular arrangement, “Cream on Chrome.” The drums and bass began the tune; the audience recognized it immediately and started moving more and more. Lasers changed from beams to sheets, cutting through and exposing the smoke that poured in from the smoke machines and other recreational sources provided by the fans below.
On top of the performance being excellent, it was probably the most well-mixed and technically sound show I have ever heard. Stroud and Mast are adamant about having the mix most notably significant in the front and center areas, thus the solar plexus piercing bass. They did everything possible to fornicate with my eyes and ears, and I was totally okay with it. Thank you for violating me, Ratatat. Thank you.
Go see these guys now.
TheWaster.com | NYC