Ratatat at Loppen...on a snowy, blustery night in Copenhagen!

by Tim Anderson (timothyanderson2005@gmail.com)

Ratatat in Copenhagen...

There is pretty much no better way to break up the week a bit then to stick a nice, loud guitar driven concert (preferably with an electronic edge) right in the middle of it. Last night Ratatat, a band straight from none other than New York City, was a perfect fit for the job. And they delivered the goods.

In choosing to play in Copenhagen at Loppen (in Christiania), the guys couldn't have made a better choice. Loppen has a capacity of 200 people, though nobody seemed to be counting last night. There was rather more people then that stuffed into the place.

The sonic boom of Ratatat's rumbling (and remarkably clear) bass sound literally shook the walls and floor at times (and of course whenever enough people start jumping a little bit in Loppen, the place actually moves). But the remarkable wooden beams of Loppen (a common feature of Copenhagen's often ancient architecture) have proven again and again capable of standing the test of time (and a lot of excited people).

Ratatat's music is raw and full of power. It is in your face. You can feel it reverberating through your bones. It gets you moving. Subtle, it certainly is not. It sounds pretty good on CD (or mp3...), but seeing them play live one quickly understands what they are really all about.

Ratatat's songs are essentially an exploration of a distinct and unique style and sound - characterised by a particular set of chords structures, keyboards, elements of distortion and a unmistakeable and kind of wailing harmonic guitar sound. And no vocals.

Listen to a couple songs on Ratatat's MySpace page to get a pretty clear idea of what I'm referring to (or click over to their homepage). And Ratatat are hardly unknown, but they certainly aren't well known either - even if their song Wildcat has been played some 525,000 times
on their MySpace page...

Now in art, there is a long tradition of artists choosing to explore certain thematic areas and confining themselves for a while to a (oftentimes surprisingly) limited artistic space within which they let their creativity to wander, rarely venturing outside of it.

To mention a couple random examples, think of the countless water lily paintings of Monet's (inspired by his own back garden). Or perhaps the best example, the pop art of Andy Warhol. In other words, creativity does not necessarily need to be sprawling and ever-shifting to be captivating.

So though the uninitiated may be tempted to level the obvious criticism at Ratatat that their music is prone to a certain and distinct 'sameness' (you could essentially put all the songs from their two studio albums into one big pile), this is what the group is all about (thus far into their career, at least). However, because Ratatat's songs are full of moments of genius and brilliance and are so distinct, in spite of being confined to this specific and fairly narrow sonic space, to accept them for what they are is the most fruitful approach to take.

If anybody had predicted that the cold, snow and bluster of the weather in Copenhagen yesterday would have been enough to keep away the crowds for the Ratatat concert last night at Loppen, it would have been a very wrong prediction, indeed.

a full house in Loppen...

and plenty of snow outside...

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