Ratatat – June 5th – The Ogden

The Scene: We arrived at 9:45, just in time to make a couple rounds through the Ogden Theater, and get a feel for the crowd. Entering the theater, it was obvious that this was a sold out show.  With every tier of the cavernous space packed, the theater was flush with ecstatic anticipation for the epic rock dance party that was about to take place. Blackalicious provided the backdrop as people loaded up on drinks and found their optimum viewing perch, while the stagehands did their final run through, in anticipation of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast taking the stage in just a few short minutes.

The Brooklyn duo that comprises Ratatat must have felt at home due to the pronounced hipster vibe that virtually made the Ogden Theater a miniature version of their home borough. Besides the noted hipster presence, the crowd encompassed everyone from baby-faced fans with glowstick necklaces to the bearded thirty-somethings who populated the upper balcony and thought it was worth rockin’ out at a Sunday show.

Ratatat: At 10:15pm, the audience roared when a trilling, synthesized sound filled the theater and Ratatat took the darkened stage against a projected video backdrop of slow-motion water captured against a vibrant blue background.  With the main video projector perched at center stage, the towering silhouettes of Stroud and Mast were thrown onto screen, reminiscent of 80’s metal bands.

Throughout the show the videos on the screen featured everything from psychedelic, Escher-like video mosaics of birds, to looping outtakes from cult films like Predator and Black Belt Jones. Both sides of the stage also featured these amazing, transparent mesh video projection screens. These screens displayed images that either accompanied the main video montages, or sometimes showcased imaginary violinists who provided accompaniment on numerous tracks. The effect was stunning. Keep in mind that all this was in addition to floor-level strobe units, a stage-length battery of lights that stretched beneath the main video projection screen, and drums that sat at center stage and became white-hot with phosphorescent light.

Ratatat went on to perform a great selection of old and new material, including crowd favorites like “Loud Pipes.”  With their effortless transitions from their minimalist electronic sound, to their deep house beats, to their epic rock crescendos, Ratatat threw down an awesome show, and played for 70 minutes before exiting the stage.  The crowd chanted RAT-A-TAT, while clapping, whistling, and shaking the theater with their demand for more. The duo retook the stage just a few minutes later and played a celebratory 15 minute encore. If the house lights had not immediately turned on, I’m sure the crowd would have pleaded for a second encore. Being Sunday, I was totally pleased with almost a hour and a half of solid, high intensity, electronic rock.

Overall, the energy, pacing, and intensity of the show were dead on. I would definitely recommend seeing Ratatat perform anytime they’re in town, especially when they are playing a sold-out show at a classic venue like the Ogden.

Energy: A
Sound: A
Musicianship: A
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: A

Overall: A

Here’s an lofi iPhone capture of the show if you are interested in seeing what it was like in person:

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