THE ULTIMATE RATTURDAY: BACK FOR MORE IN PHILLY
There really aren’t any ’80s bands that are still making relevant music in 2010, and Ratt managed to do just that with Infestation… but I’ve waxed ecstatic about that album enough already. While other ’80s hair bands have been relegated to either the fair and festival circuit or nostalgia package tours, it’s fitting that Ratt commemorated their album release with a good old fashioned tour of sweaty clubs. And in Philadelphia on Saturday night — the ultimate Ratturday celebration — Ratt dazzled with a captivating performance that served to remind why this band is experiencing such an unlikely renaissance.
I’d seen Ratt during the Jizzy Pearl years but never with Pearcy, so this show was a whole extra magnitude of special for me. Ratt man, frickin RATT, with Stephen Pearcy!! And though I’d yet to experience so many of the hits live in their proper Pearcy-squealed form, what I really wanted most from this show was to see Ratt play tunes from the new album… which thankfully they did. Ratt mixed up all the hits from my Ratt n’ Roll 8191 collection — even latter day classic “Nobody Rides for Free” and the desperate grab for popularity that was “Way Cool Jr.” — and sprinkled in four songs from Infestation along the way. “Best of Me” and “Eat Me Up Alive” garnered a surprisingly knowing reaction from the packed crowd at the TLA; it was really refreshing to see how many folks recognized and love the new songs.
Of course, the biggest audience reactions came for “Back for More” and set-closer “Round and Round,” but Ratt, and their audience, kept the energy level high throughout. Pearcy, donned in a fishnet shirt and occasional jean-jacket, commanded the crowd from one side of the stage to the other, one hand raised high and the other gripping the mic in his trademark pose. Sure, Pearcy looks hit the fuck up — and let’s not kid ourselves, he knows when to cede the high vocals to either Warren DeMartini or Carlos Cavazo — but the dude’s a damn good frontman, one of the best, and he knows how to flaunt what he’s got. He’s also in excellent shape for anyone, let alone a guy who just passed 50 — for that matter, all the dudes in the band are.
DeMartini and Cavazo for their part did a great job with the trademark Ratt gang vocals and backups, and they had plenty of opportunities to show off their chops during the set’s multiple solos (’cause, ya know, every song’s got one). DeMartini’s a master, a silky smooth blues man who winds his way up and down the fret board with buttery ease, and Cavazo’s a shredder and a head-banger — having him in this band is the best thing that’s happened to the ’80s metal scene in years. Together they were a force to be reckoned with, leading their twin guitar attack atop Robbie Crane’s rock solid bass and Bobby Blotzer’s dependable (except when he f’ed up the intro for “Best of Me”) drums.
What else could one ask for out of Ratturday? I had to drive to Philly to celebrate this one because of a prior commitment for tonight’s NYC Ratt show, but it was well worth it. If I could go see them again tonight, I absolutely would.