Live Review: Ratatat, Black Cab

9 December 2015 | 1:36 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"Ratatat try to cool the crowd down by spraying their allocation of water over us but, as the temperature in the room rises, it's only a band-aid."

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Melbourne trio Black Cab warm the crowd with their '80s-styled electro-pop. They work a template perfected all those years ago, combining disco beats with sparkling synthesiser fizz. The pop elements are contrasted with Andrew Coates' sombre vocals and dark atmospheric drones. The result is a bright, inviting surface that acts as a trap that sucks listeners into bleak, sinister realities. Black Cab have been around for a few years now but lately have really been hitting their straps.

The last five years have been a vacuum of new material for Ratatat's hoards of zealous fans who are certainly out in full force this evening. We chat to an excited young man who reveals that he discovered the band while recovering from a drug-induced psychotic episode somewhere in Southeast Asia, after which he was told that he could quite possibly be mildly schizophrenic. 

Ratatat once put an indie spin on dance sounds to charming effect, but tonight they seem to be positioning themselves somewhere between Justice and Daft Punk. Their last album Magnifique now seems to acknowledge a French Touch reference and more specifically the legacy of Ed Banger. Ratatat work a penchant for indulgent guitar solos that recall Brian May at his wacky best. Cheesy hair metal riffery blunted on a fascination for baroque pop  — we did hear harpsichord — and thunderous dance beats all comes together to completely dazzle the hyped crowd. 

It's total hands in the air mayhem for 90 minutes as we are blinded by strobes, lasers, psychedelic projections and banks of spotlights facing the audience. The only thing missing is drifting smoke machine clouds. The duo's bubbly dance music mesmerises the crowd, which fast becomes a messy tangle of sweaty, dancing limbs. The audience loves these instrumental songs so much that they even sing along with the guitar riffs at the tops of their voices. Ratatat try to cool the crowd down by spraying their allocation of water over us but, as the temperature in the room rises, it's only a band-aid. Shempi brings the night down with the duo furiously pelting tom drums at the front of the stage, accompanied by a backing track. The crowd leaves looking suitably exhausted and feeling somewhat deafened by it all.

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