Ratatat is Visually Stunning, But Bland

Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, April 8

Ratatat at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV

Ratatat | Photo by Erik Kabik

Tight sets and grandiose visuals are the cornerstones of a good electronic music set. Ratatat relied on the latter. The New York electronic duo, which will headline Coachella’s Sahara tent, tried its best to bring festival vibes to the Strip with over-the-top production. The band used enough lasers, strobe lights and holograms(!) to make a megaclub DJ jealous.

The jaw-dropping visuals ultimately served to distract fans from an incredibly dull performance. Guitarist Mike Shroud’s eyes never left his guitar’s fretboard during the high-energy licks of “Lex” and “Wildcat.” Bassist and producer Evan Mast appeared comatose—barely nodding his head as he riffed through the thump of “Gettysburg.” There appeared to be a brooding distance between the two; each stayed on his respective sides of the stage for the majority of the set. And while Shroud and Mast played the same keyboard at one point, interactions seemed forced.

Aurally, the band delivered a clean performance—nailing its sometimes-challenging parts, but over a weak foundation. The typically in-your-face bass of backing tracks was lost in translation from record to stage and was extremely quiet. The duo ended its set with an extended version of “Seventeen Years” where it relied, once again, on flashy visuals to keep the audience’s attention. Perhaps this show would’ve been more fitting in a nightclub. ★★✩✩✩

Photos by Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com