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Ratatat, Kirin J Callinan – Metro Theatre, Sydney 27/04/16

It’s not every Wednesday night that a bunch of wild cats get down with Ratatat at a packed out Metro Theatre, but that’s exactly what happened last night. In the midst of their stint on the Groovin’ The Moo tour, the Brooklyn-based duo made a pit stop in Sydney to bring their unique electronic rock to punters who either didn’t get a chance to catch them at GTM or who didn’t get enough over the weekend.

The night opened with Frikstailers, the multi-rhythmic and sampling virtuosos from Mexico. Donning brightly coloured, braided wigs and LED sunglasses, the two strongly resembled the Yip Yips from Sesame Street as they bounded around the stage producing extraterrestrial-sounding electro. Between using a Dance Dance Revolution mat and a Guitar Hero axe to summon the synth, they certainly roused the attention of fans who made it to the show early.

Next up was Sydney’s very own Kirin J. Calinan and his band of musical misfits. Sporting a white suit and a slicked back mullet that reeked of the 80s, Calinan sauntered around the stage with his usual smarmy demeanour. What could’ve been a great support act, though, fell short when the synth-heavy instrumentals drowned out the frontman’s deep, muffled vocals. The set hit it’s peak when the band exited the stage, leaving a now shirtless Calinan to gyrate around while singing an acapella version of “I’m a Toddler”.

By this point, the Metro was packed wall to wall and the crowd was more than ready by the time the house lights lowered and Ratatat’s spark-firing logo appeared on the backdrop. Wasting no time, the boys burst into the fiery “Pricks of Brightness” from 2015’s Magnifique. While the boys busted out their signature rock-laden electro, images of swirling ancient sculptures and golden soaked statues lit up the backdrop. The bangers kept on coming with “Loud Pipes” and “Cream on Chrome” making sure the crowd was nice and fired up early in the set.

As usual, Ratatat put on an absolute extravaganza for the senses. As they ripped into chugging guitar riffs and fired off electrifying synth in tracks like “Abrasive”, their silhouettes danced across trippy projections including a kaleidoscope of emu heads and an image of a CGI baby with eight arms. Technicoloured laser beams ran in time with the squeals of the guitars and the Metro was constantly bathed in a rainbow of colourful hues, luring you into another sonic dimension.

While it’s hard to pinpoint highlights in the stellar set, the roars that followed the panther growls in
“Wildcat” and the hip-hop sounding “Seventeen Years” betrayed which tracks were the crowd favourites. When the duo closed with the latter, the inevitable chant of “one more song!” reverberated through the Metro. Ratatat was more than happy to oblige, though, closing out the night with an encore of “Shempi”. As imagery of molten lava dripped down the backdrop and the metro was bathed in magenta light, everyone on the stage, floor and seats danced with reckless abandon one last time.

Photos: Ashley Mar

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