RATCAT had a lot to prove at thelr show lastweekend. As slnger/gultarist Simon Day sald, it had been a whlle since the band last saw the smiling faces of Sydney-and In that time people's taste and opinions have changed. Many who championed the band for This Nightmare have since turned their back on them; and those who got Into the Blind Love album are growlng up. So are Ratcat relevant, and Is there a market for their forthcoming third release?
ON the strength of thls gig I would say yes. The old songs stlll sparkled and the new ones fitted In perfectly, pro. gressing and yet not departing too rapidly form thelr famlllar sound. Beginnlng wlth the Instrumental Overdrlve, the band put themselves on the line, playing only three songs from the mega-successful second record and concentratlng instead on their new material.
INTRODUCING a new bass player to the fold, ex-Reptile/Deadly Hume Marc Scully, added to the test--and they passed that too. With his long hair and tattooes he fits in well visu- ally, while his muslcal style comple- ments Slmon's songs. He is stlll a little hesitant, especlally in the backlng vocal department, and stands too often with his head down and his hair covering his face, but as his confl- dence Increases he wlll only get better. Already he is addlng to the solid, basic beat provided by Andrew Polln that underplns every Ratcat song, leavlng Slmon free to swirl his guitar and vocal melodles over the top. I was a little worrled about the rumours of a soap star replacement, but fortunately they took the rock option, and Marc has brought a new dynamic to the sound.
As a band the three performed well, Simon quite captivating in his awk- wardness. He didn't waste words, pre- ferring to grind out song after song and laught at the comments screamed up at him, "Did you say play something slow? No way!" he smlled, launching Into a new track with a crunch his guitar and a loud beat from the rhythm sectlon.
SONGS such as Tingles, Getting Away, Don't Go In The Water (with Its strobe light effects that put Marc off his playlng) and Don't Go Now were warmly received, as were older fav- ourites like RepoMan, TimeBomb Of Hate and Go Go. And It is here that I get confused "The earlystuff's better" grumbled the guy behlnd me, third songs Into the set. Without hearlng more than one new song, he had already written them all off. Why do people persist in perpetuating the tall poppy syndrome? As soon as a favourlte band achleve any success (and. Iet's face It, Ratcat dld pretty well), they are disowned by their narrow minded early followers, who won't even listen to the new materlal. Everyone's entitled to their opinlon, and If someone honestly didn't llke the new songs thats fine. But to dismiss them wlthout listening Is pathetlc Ratcat deserve better than that.
STILL, the whole set was full of energy, whlch translates into loads of stage divers attempting to defy the over zealous securlty people. Marc laugh- ed as each person took a flylng leap Into the seething crowd, and the dancing bordered on a loss.of con- trol. Not bad for a 'pop' band hey-- blood smeared badges of honour as people staggered from the dance floor and stood back to catch their breath.
RUMBLE and Pipellne started off the encore, two driving Instrumentals that people stopped still and watch- ed. They started to move again from when the very first beat of Tha Ain't Bad blared out--the threatened last song--but Slmon had hlnted at the possibillty of Repo Man, and the crowd wasn't going to miss it for anything, It built up to a frantic finish, and the band left again with three levels of the Phoeniclan Club full of people hopefully well satisfied.
FOR with songs like Another Planet, Crazy, Love No More and The World, with its cranking bass line and great vocals (all announced with a slmple 'new song' from Simon), this band should go on and prove their de- tractors wrong,. Ratcat are moving forward while still capturing the grungy pop perfection of their early days -- surely the most effective response to the backlash they could come up wlth.