Ratatat @ Club Nokia 9/21/10

As published by LA RECORD:

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Photo: Tim Drummond

Club Nokia is a terrible place to get to early. The bar is expensive as hell and the shows always start late, but in order to ensure entrance to the pit area in front of the stage you have to be one of the first few hundred in to get a special wristband. Opt for the VIP pass so you can grab a seat on the balcony through the openers…or wear comfortable shoes.

The pre-Ratatat entertainment began with a DJ who was clearly a sadist, pumping techno dance beats and working such talents as his 15-minute Beastie Boys remix of “Sabotage” through the incredibly loud speakers for one very long hour. As the pit filled up, a claustrophobic panic attack loomed in my very near future, so I left my photographer sardined in the front for a comfortable bird’s-eye view seat in the “VIP” balcony, along with 500 other very important people. It was a wise decision; Ratatat didn’t go on until after 11pm. The first opener took to the stage at 9. A mix of surf, noise and pop crooning, Bobby Birdman was just plain terrible, but the film clips from blaxploitation films and funny animal pictures projecting behind him sufficed as good entertainment. Next, Massachusetts pop rock outfit DOM delivered a set full of long hair and long guitar solos. Their departure was met with rapacious howls of “RAT-A-TAT! RAT-A-TAT!” by the all-ages crowd, up past their bedtime, growing impatient and a little sleepy waiting for the headline performers.

When the moment finally arrived, girls and guys alike squealed in ecstatic glee. Forgoing sidemen this time around, the duo of guitarist Mike Stroud and bass/synth man Evan Mast performed by their lonesomes as writhing silhouetted twins against a backdrop of swirly screen projections and stage smoke. The full-throttle set was heavy on the new stuff from their fourth and latest record, LP4, including “Bob Gandhi,” “Neckbrace,” “Drugs” and “Grape Juice City.” But the biggest WHOOO!’s come from their older, more familiar tunes like “Wildcat” from Classics and “17 Years” and “Loud Pipes” from their 2004 self-titled debut. The house-bringing-down final encore had Stroud and Mast bombardiering with tom-toms and mallets through the percussion-driven “Bare Feast.”

Linda Rapka

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