Published Oct 10, 2008Hadn't we heard this song already, I asked near the show's end. That, my friends, is the Ratatat appeal: cling tight to the formula. Theyre heavy on the synth, and same for the guitars too bad if it's tough to differentiate songs. The crowd's reaction to "Bruleé, a track that's like a visit from the ice cream man on a rainy day, agreed. That song set the tone. Newer Ratatat songs packed on added muscle, and that's why their newest album, LP3, dominated the set list. Most came not for the words, there were none, only to hear everything pounce from the stage in one herky-jerky heap. Promise fulfilled.
That a Ratatat concert is an odd place for crowd-surfing didn't stop the folks who rode the wave to the stage and right out the doors with some help from security, or at least that's how Ratatat explained it. One girl left only after planting her lips on a shaggy haired Mike Stroud. Someone off to my right yelped that he knew the girl.
Most were wondering if the set would be cut short. No such bad luck. Coordinated hand clapping erupted at several points, but "Wildcat," from Classics, saw the claws come out. Last time I saw Ratatat perform in T.O. it was just two guys Evan Mast and Stroud stroking their guitars. It sounded great, but the eyes grew bored. A keyboardist named Jacob Morris has joined the fray, enhancing the spectacle with his head banging and a swollen Afro.
A video screen showed a demonic Abba during "Shempi and shot to any abstract clips that matched the music. Its effect only amplified "Mirando, as violent clips from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Predator got stuck in a loop. Something about a seething Arnold caught in his own violent orgy made me realize that what's best about a formula is that it delivers exactly what you expect: more of the same.