Live Review: Ratatat, Black Cab

7 December 2015 | 3:25 pm | Jake Sun

"This works wonders on the dancefloor, keeping the bodies ecstatically bouncing right up until the chaotic and climatic moments of closer 'Seventeen Years'."

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It's a real shame that only a few dozen people have filtered into The Tivoli in time for Melbourne's Black Cab because they have quite a lot to offer. The three-piece serve up a sophisticated style of electro that is blended with tasteful elements of krautrock and post-punk. They have quite a full, moody sound. Couple this with a minimal yet effective, lighting show, and each song is really given the platform to go the distance. It's certainly a powerful little set that inspires a search for more.

In the four and half years since their last visit, Ratatat have built up quite a fanbase locally. It's a very solid turnout for a midweek show and a great outpouring of jubilation beams from almost everyone present. A blazing logo projection announces their arrival and within moments Pricks Of Brightness is bursting out in all its glory. Towards the end of the opener the stage explodes into a grand spectacle of visuals that sees projections, lasers and blinder lights used to dazzling effect, and the crowd is pushed to greater peaks of passion in their response. The slower grind of follower Loud Pipes stands as a great contrast, and Grape Juice City, Cream On Chrome and Lex follow suit. It soon becomes evident that the overwhelming presence and weight of their live sound brings an added sense of dynamism to the songs, alleviating the set from the potential of monotony. And the ingenuity of their visual ideas push this sense of dynamism even further, allowing each song to really occupy its own space. Mirando, Abrasive, and Neckbrace are notables that reap the maximum benefits of this synaesthesiac experience.

Evan Mast exudes a calm presence on his bass while Mike Stroud bounces around in a lively manner as he noodles away on his guitar, often splashing his silhouette onto the projection screen for extra rockstar effect. Both keep busy switching it up to play percussion and synths on their respective sides of the stage throughout the set. For a two-man band, the performative aspect of their show is a surprisingly engaging watch — yet another element of this multi-faceted experience that falls right into place. They balance a great tension between momentum and repetition within each song, producing a cyclic effect whereby the energy exuded seems to feed back into itself. This works wonders on the dancefloor, keeping the bodies ecstatically bouncing right up until the chaotic and climatic moments of closer Seventeen Years. An encore of Gettysburg and Shempi see them return to the stage for some final moments of festivities and the latter brings it all home with double percussive glory.