Ratso brought out the big guns to Big Fan last night, turning the hipster haven into rock and roll heaven while celebrating the release of their live album.
I was advised to arrive early in case of a sell-out and limited space.
And I’m glad I did. There was plenty of room at 7:15 but the reward was catching the two opening acts, particularly Neon Serpent, who were up first.
The Serpent have opened for Ratso before, but this was my first time seeing them. They are young, but obviously been brought up right…on a steady diet of punk, glam and hair metal.
Lead vocalist Blair Mörningwood looks like the kid picked last in gym class, but sounds like Dio. Now he’s getting his revenge rocking out and pumping his fists to an adoring crowd.
They start their set with a brief nod to surf guitar legend Dick Dale before launching into their one released single, Witch’s Prey.
The rest of the band consists of guitarist Chad Dousháy, Davo on bass and Danni Phux on drums.
They pull off a cover of Abba’s Voulez-Vous that sounds like it might have been originally recorded by Blue Öyster Cult.
There are a few odes to sexual frustration…Never Want To Use My Hands Again and Spicy Mayonnaise and then a killer cover of Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher that reminds this old rocker what a cool band they were before DLR left.
There was plenty of 80s-style shredding and posing backed by some solid 70s-style rocking and rolling…bringing the past into the future.
Our old friends The Situations are more Nuggets than Glam. Tonight they are a trio…I last saw them years ago when there were four.
Their set is more in tune with the all-ages crowd. I believe anyone under 15 was allowed in free, and there were several tots cruising around the place, headphones safely attached.
In addition to a bunch of originals, we got a crunchy version of Lee Dorsey’s Ya Ya and Dead Moon’s Down To The Dogs (sound man Graham Bennett recorded DM in Invercargill and there’s a live album out to prove it)
But my favourite moment of the set was when they announced, “This is a song we wrote yesterday in my garage”. That’s good enough for me.
Make Aotearoa Glam Again!
That is the credo by which these five rock and roll animals are living at the moment.
Fronted by John Baker and Jake Harding and backed by guitarist Tomi, bass player Bruno and Alex on drums (tonight looking like the Bjorn Bork of rock & roll), this is a band on a mission.
Sounding like the best parts of The Dolls, The Damned, The Clash and Eddie & The Hot Rods, Ratso spared nothing as they ripped through their set playing most (if not all) of their new live album, recorded in November in Christchurch by none other than Graham Bennett, who, like the members of Ratso are glammed up to the nines for this auspicious night.
“I wanna ride that mustache like a jet ski!” announces JB, and who can argue, who even knows what he’s talking about?
This is not a show for over-thinking, but rock and rolling, and that’s just what we all do.
“Are there any Mormons here?” we are asked before The Osmonds’ Crazy Horses is brought back to life.
By the end, the band, drum kit and all, is on the floor with the crowd, JB has handed out his cardboard placards (mine says Fuck Ratso) and everyone, kids and grownups, is having a very good time.
The vibe throughout the night was warm, caring and inclusive even if the music was loud enough to send one to the ear doctor.
For at least a few hours last night, Ratso made Aotearoa Glam again.
Click any icon to view a gallery of photos by David Fu