Viewport width =
May 19, 2008 | by  | in Music |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Live Review: Ratatat

San Fran Bathhouse
Thursday 1st May

Increasingly trendy North American two-piece Ratatat are somewhat of an illkept secret in nerdy indie circles, and that’s probably because their synth & guitarbased instrumental music is really pretty damn good. So you can understand my complete surprise at how their live show at a totally packed Bodega turned out to be a total non-event.

Support band Little Pictures once again failed to interest – let alone warm up – a crowd away from their sceney friends at Mighty Mighty. The very fact that this ‘band’ which produces such a shallow and exploitative representation of music (including only a patronisingly simple synthesiser melody and a drum machine) was chosen to open for such a successful and talented international act is a great embarrassment for New Zealand music. We constantly wank off about how deep and strong musical talent is in this country and yet the best opener we can scrape together for Ratatat were these pieces of shit. Seriously, was I the only one cringing?

Luckily, Ratatat didn’t leave us waiting long. They appeared to a tremendous cheer (with a third musician in tow) and burst straight into ‘Montanita’ from their sophomore album Classics. They were impressive at first, guitarist Mike Stroud rocked back and forth energetically at his guitar while Evan Mast busied himself at the keys. However, this on stage front varied little throughout their entire set and after the first few songs the sight got very repetitive and boring.

The sound quality also wasn’t up to scratch. The different musical lines were almost indistinguishable in the wall of sound coming from the speakers, and the tiny nuances and detailed differences that makes Ratatat’s music so good were sadly lost. However that didn’t stop the crowd from enjoying themselves and jumping along to favourites ‘Lex’, “Wild Cat’ and ‘Seventeen Years’. But really the only thing that saved this gig from being a bad one was that fact that Ratatats’ music is excellently composed and still enjoyable in a tiresome atmosphere. Apart from that, it was a bit of a yawn-fest.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments (6)

Trackback URL / Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jimmy Stearn says:

    Shallow and exploitative representation of music… That’s a bit harsh… Hows your musical career going? They’re about to go on an Aussie tour and have a pretty big following. Yes, they are simple but so what!?They have cool melody’s, lyrics and voices. It’s fun! It’s pop, it’s not Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin or trendy indy music. I think, Christopher Gilbert, you need to try to appreciate it for what it is, and not put your ideas about how YOUR ideal music should be. Little Pictures are awesome!

  2. Karl Bronstein says:

    hah pulling the old complain about a bad review your friends band got routine, why is this cities music scene so damn incestuous, your not helping James.

  3. Jimmy Stearn says:

    I just reckon that saying they are an embarrassment is a bit over the top. I can understand if they played really poorly why you’d say that, but if it’s just not the kind of music the reviewer is into then it’s not a balanced review, it’s an opinion piece.

  4. Christopher Gilbert says:

    I usually don’t comment on my own pieces but Jimmy I, alas, am into that kind of music, which is why it pains me to see it so poorly done. And yes, it actually is ‘trendy indy music’.

    I would also like to point out just because the music is simple doesn’t mean it has to be terrible. A lot of the best music is incredibly simple. As a musician who is so influenced by the folk genre you yourself should know that, and as a such a musician you should be intelligent enough to understand why Little Pictures do not write good music.

    Thats all.

  5. Matt Scheurich says:

    Biased opinionated reporting is where the action is at, and who is anyone going to fool with an unbiased review? (unless it’s some science-y thing based on fact) Doesn’t a review need some kind of point of opinion regarding the subject at hand? That opinion would relate to some kind of bias which could technically mean that a balanced review is nonexistent.

    Obviously the issue Jimmy has with Chris’s statements about Little Pictures is most probably the harshness, and while I think the tone of the review could be metered down and the articles of contention expanded upon to justify said harshness, essentially it’s an individual’s valid opinion.

    I think the worthiness people positively/negatively impose upon a review piece (or any kind of editorial piece, really) as being a be-all-end-all statement just because of its medium is pretty retarded. Speaking of which, Pitchfork can suck my balls regarding music and if I want to say something about something, I’ll experience it myself first or consult with a friend whose opinion and knowledge I trust. Or just be a judgmental fuckwad.

    I’m glad people have a cry about this stuff. It means there’s something funny to read online.

  6. Tyson says:

    I agree with Chris. They are shit. Did anyone see their 2 star album review in Groove Guide?

Recent posts

  1. Cuttin’ it with with Miss June
  2. SWAT
  3. Ravished by the Living Embodiment of All Our University Woes
  4. New Zealand’s First Rainbow Crossing is Here (and Queer)
  5. Chloe Has a Yarn About Mental Health
  6. “Stick with Vic” Makes “Insulting” and “Upsetting” Comments
  7. Presidential Address
  8. Final Review
  9. Tears Fall, and Sea Levels Rise
  10. It’s Fall in my Heart

Editor's Pick

This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided