When I last checked in with electronic power duo Ratatat, they were returning from a dormant streak and were performing to a packed house in Pomona prior to the release of their fifth album, Magnifique (they also celebrated the release of that album at Sonos Studio last month). Their recent stop at The Mayan Theatre (two nights, the first of which was sold out) was more of a victory lap and featured many of the new songs blended with their older classics.
The almost-mystic vibe of The Mayan definitely suited the overall aesthetic of Ratatat’s performance. As has been noted before, multi-instrumentalists Mike Stroud and Evan Mast tend to revel in the mystery of their appearance onstage: smoke, strobe lights, lasers, hypnotizing/trippy visuals…basically anything to take the focus off the members’ physical beings and onto the music that they produce together.
Of course, live staples like Classic’s “Wildcat” and “Nostrand” and LP3’s “Mirando” still pack the same punch that they have at any point during the decade-plus career that Ratatat has maintained with unwavering consistency, but the crowd at The Mayan was just as receptive to Magnifique cuts like “Cream On Chrome” and “Abrasive.”
In fact, that latter track may have gotten the biggest response of the entire night. With its escalating layers of guitar melodies, the song has an anthemic quality that made it a greatest hit from the moment the NY duo debuted it live. Even slower, more laid-back new songs like “Supreme” and “Magnifique” held the audience’s attention, if only as brief rests from the otherwise high-impact, grooving set.
Before the show started, I wondered out loud if this was going to be the last time I elected to see Ratatat for a while. After all, I had seen them back in April at the beginning of this same album cycle, and I already had a hunch that the show would not be wildly different from what I had recently seen. Leaving the venue, however, I found I had been won over once more. Ratatat is an act that is worthy of multiple encounters, if only because so few other artists do what they do.
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