Ratatat plays big at Terminal 5

The Brooklyn-based electro-rock duo Ratatat delivered a wall of sound at Terminal 5 last Friday, touring their newest album LP4. The skinny guitarists stood in ego-less silhouette, ceding stardom to sound and electronic visuals. Unlike many electro bands that perform by tapping away on laptops and looping phrases on synthesizers, Ratatat’s only live music came from their guitars, which accompanied pre-recorded synthesizer melodies and hip-hop beats.

A taste of the band’s sound and their weird aesthetic.

The propulsive sound seemed somewhat old school, like a juiced-up score for Super Mario Bros. 3, the video game from the late 1980s, audible at around minute four of this video. The band displayed a knowledge of classical music, both in their skilled chromatic phrasing and in the repeated visual tributes to great composers. At one point, impressive 3D holograms of the pair dressed as futuristic Beethovens were projected onto scrims that flanked the stage.

Ratatat attracted a young audience. The majority of ticketholders who filled the ground floor were uber-energized teenagers, followed by a thriving dude scene on the first-tier balcony. I overheard several young men enthusiastically saying it was the best concert they’d seen, which I connected with the male-heavy fan base of heavy metal bands: they like it loud. Most entertaining though, was the couple of old guys in the VIP section that my companion guessed were the band members’ dads. No one was more enthusiastic than the sexagenarian in a pink polo shirt and khakis, who threw his body around in time with the big, driving rhythm sections.

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