Last Night: Ratatat, Panther And E*Rock At The Granada Theater

Ratatat, Panther, E*Rock Granada Theater September 16, 2008

Better than: Momentarily passing out during the third song. Because, yeah, I did.

The only place where things were a little calm was on stage. (Nikki Loehr)

Ratatat did the expected and sold out the Granada Theater. And the crowd packed in from chins on the stage to the back of the balcony, unavoidably breaking the Granada’s “clear the aisles” rule when the headliners took to the stage and dancing commenced.

With the exception of “hello” and “thank you” there was hardly a word spoken through the entire set. This benefited the dance party vibe, allowing the instrumental, beat-based songs to play out like one long soundtrack with very little interruption. The semi-mellow opener “Bruleé,” from their latest album LP3, grabbed the crowd with its intense guitar riffs and the momentum was never lost.

In a flannel shirt, with long hair covering his face, guitarist Mike Stroud channeled Kurt Cobain as he leaned back into rocker stance for the riff-heavy newer tracks that opened the set. He then jumped to his toes and laid out the crowd-pleasing dance tracks from their two earlier albums with the same intensity. “Lex” and “Loud Pipes” got everyone dancing until a plateau at the reggae-inspired “Flynn,” but it was “Wildcat” that sent the ecstatic crowd through the roof, not to return for the rest of the night.

Evan Mast made sure that sternums were constantly rattling with his Gibson EB-0 bass guitar legitimizing the thumping electro beats. He kept things interesting with distortion pedals and a pedal that he used to flash a light display on cue.

Joining the duo for this tour was Martin Bonventre on keys and autoharp. When he wasn’t headbanging the most fantastic ‘fro I’ve ever seen, he was darting quietly across the stage, filling in expertly as needed.

Overall, the set list was a well-composed mixture of both the crowd-pleasers that have made Ratatat popular and the intricate, more mature work of their latest album. The encore ended with “Seventeen Years” (you’ve heard it in Cloverfield and that Hummer commercial), which, again, threw the crowd into a dancing frenzy and ended the night on a high. --Brittan Dunham

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: The already multi-layered music accompanied by a fog machine blowing right in our faces and a screen projecting hysterically flashing images (like mashed up scenes from Predator), gave us in the front row sensory overload. I consider myself well-accustomed to these things, but not last night. It was a bit much.

Random Note: I heard talk backstage that they band has already finished work on LP4. If it follows the trend of the band's first three albums, they should have no problem maintaining artistic legitimacy and still scoring those sweet commercial deals.

By The Way: The first opening act of the night, a dude dropping serious beats with a laptop and a ninja/hijab getup covering his face, was actually E*Rock, Evan Mast’s brother. And that thing he was violently waving around was a Wii remote that controlled the beats pumping from his Mac.

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