MOUSE ON MARS + Ratatat + Junior Boys @ The Cabaret


Ashley Wong - Dump the Body in Rikki Lake - 10/26/04

A well-balanced diet just makes everything function better. Much like how cheese just seems to go with crackers, and milk with your cereal, the Junior Boys, Ratatat and Mouse on Mars together made a meal that just made you feel good by the end (bad analogy I know).

Opening the show was Hamilton, Ontario's Junior Boys who played as a duo, mixing new wave beats and melodies that could be felt in the chest. Using synthesized drum beats to accompany sweet, almost ambient guitar and vocals, the Junior Boys set the mood for Ratatat. A pleasant birthday wish was given out to Junior Boy Matt Didemus who was turning 25.

Ratatat, another hybrid duo featuring prerecorded electronics and live guitars, hit the stage using synthesized melodies and drumbeats that lead the battle between the guitar and bass. Live guitar harmonics and diverging guitar solos filled the performative void not provided by the synth, creating a sound that resonated in you head. Out of New York, the two have both been active in various projects. Evan Mast, is the co-founder of record label Audio Dregs, and guitarist Mike Stroud has toured with acts like Ben Kweller and Dashboard Confessional. Without a live drummer, their performance had a feeling of two friends privately rocking out together on guitars. There was a certain seriousness towards the vocal-less pop songs. Purely instrumental bands tend to have a natural sense of introversion. Still, without vocals and a live drummer, Ratatat continued to capture the audience with intense catchy pop tunes.

Lastly, the most captivating band of the night, Mouse on Mars set up with drummer/singer Dodo Nkishi front and centre, and with masterminds Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner on either side. Having played around for 10 years, the band had accumulated quite a devoted following. It was obvious the show was much anticipated by the audience, with Mouse On Mars having a reputation for putting on great shows. On tour from Germany, the band is currently going around Canada and the United States with the two preceding bands. Their set maintained a certain funk and groove that made everyone move. They played a solid show capturing the audience in a way that has not been seen in a while. Surprises including a guest appearance on stage by Ratatat guitarist Mike Stroud, and gracefully dealt with inconveniences such as having to perform plastic surgery on the snare drum, kept the show rolling and entertaining. Mouse On Mars never missed a beat with their performance, playing a diverse range of their songs. Their sound ranged from a mix of up-beat indie rock to drum and bass and funk.

Each band of the night attempted to blend both electronics and live guitars into a nice complementary mix of talent from around the world. The three will finish off their tour in Toronto, Cleveland, and Chicago, before returning to their respective homes.

-aw ----

Ashley Wong hosts Dump the Body In Ricki Lake Thursdays from Noon-2. She's pretty down with Southern Ontario Hardcore... y'know, like, the End or whatever.