On August 3rd, Ratatat made sure that everyone forgot that it was a Monday. The Brooklyn-based duo consisting of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast had planned on performing at the Regency Ballroom two days prior, until a broken down tour bus forced them to postpone. The assumption that a Monday show would bring a lower energy crowd was instantly dashed the moment the lights dimmed. Ratatat transformed the Regency Ballroom into a place far removed from a mundane work week.
Along with Ratatat, the tour included New York-based rapper Despot. His demeanor and commentary were intentionally and amusingly bleak. “My name is Despot. I am a rapper. Here is a rap song” was his introduction, and then he proceeded to rap. On the verge of releasing his first studio album, he revealed that most of the tracks on the album, and in his performance, were produced by Ratatat. The crowd was definitely feeling the fusion of Ratatat jams and East Coast rap.
Ratatat’s set began with an empty stage and a slowly building guitar riff that climaxed in a blast of blinding white light. Before vision could return to normal, Stroud and Mast were onstage, opening with “Pricks of Brightness.” As the show progressed, the energy of the crowd rose quickly, as did the temperature. The Regency Ballroom soon became a steam room where intense lasers and lights sliced through the heavy air in a mesmerizing light show that persisted the whole performance. The sound and the lights were a single spectacle, playing off each other while three-dimensional projections of birds, chains, and brains in a piece of coral dance on plexiglass screens on each side of Ratatat. Mike Stroud, who handles the guitar work, used all of the space on the stage to play the psychedelic-esque riffs that Ratatat is known for. Evan Mast played the driving bass lines that kept the crowd moving. Dance pits were forming all night and caused someone to spill their vodka redbull down my back, which was almost a welcome relief from the heat that was created by the raucous crowd.
Ratatat did all they could to keep the Friday night vibe alive on the cool Monday night in San Francisco. Crowd favorites like, “Cream on Chrome”, “Loud Pipes,” and “Wildcat,” mixed with the hypnotic light show, transcended any negative connotations that can be associated with Mondays. No one cared that there was work or school in a few hours. Inside the Regency Ballroom, the weekend lived on.
Photos by Leticia Molina