Ratatat Kick Off Tour, Makes Knees Weak

by Sara Graham


 Admittedly, I am a total sucker for a dude who can shred nasty guitar solos- saying it has an overtly sexual quality is nothing new, so I won’t say it.  Naturally, I was stoked that hometown heroes, Ratatat, dropped by Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn to play a sold out show.  Needless to say, the energy was high and the crowd was a motley mix of hip hop kids, college students and pretty girls.  I made my way to the mezzanine to watch the first act, a cute dude named Despot, who should be on your radar if he’s not already.  He spits slick rhymes over sampled beats, tells funny jokes and does jumping jacks onstage, so what’s not to like?  

 The dangerous duo that is Ratatat (Mike Stroud, left and Evan Mast, right) came on 3 hours after doors opened, and were joined by a third, a keyboardist, who was rocking a serious ‘fro and flared jeans, which I hadn’t seen in a minute. In true party boy form, Stroud, the lead guitarist, crept onstage with 2 beers and a bottle of Jameson in tow.   They played a good mix of tracks, mainly from their newest, more ecletic, album LP3, which dropped last week, and of course, a bunch of tracks from Classics, the house party soundtrack of 2006.  As per usual, they projected generally weird stuff in the background (including clips from the "You Can Call Me Al" music video by Paul Simon and digitally-altered ’70’s reel) and used lighting to project their silhouettes onscreen. To top off the ’70s-tinged vibe, there were even a few unexpected bongo solos.  Hmmmm…..

 The real treat at every Ratatat show, is witnessing Stroud’s total showmanship while he plays.  He doesn’t just make his guitar scream and squeal in gorgeous metal riffs.  He backbends, gets low and does mini-pinwheels while thrashing that long, scraggly, rocker hair.v If I wasn’t a total sucker before, I am now:  that kid puts sex in the six-string!

Ratatat tour Europe and are back for US dates in August and September.

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