Last Night: Ratt At Warehouse Live

Ratt Warehouse Live July 22, 2010

Must have been a slow night at the strip clubs Thursday. Sorry, cheap shot.

Actually, Ratt deserves a lot of credit. In a summer where tours are wilting right and left and every day seems to bring another "rescheduling" or outright cancellation into Aftermath's in-box, a B-list band with exactly one bona fide hit to its name nearly packed Warehouse Live with an enthusiastic crowd eager to throw up the metal horns at every available opportunity.

Those opportunities were legion. There was "Round and Round," of course, which closed out the main set with much dancing and jubilation - and not a hint of irony - but fan favorites "Lay It Down," "Lack of Communication," "Back for More" and "Wanted Man" each carried a similar self-assured strut. Ratt's songs are built for comfort, not for speed, each set at a deliberate, grinding, hip-friendly tempo and studded with staccato, easy-to-sing refrains front man Stephen Pearcy was more than happy to let the crowd handle.

If Ratt were an actor, they would be one of the "They were in that?" variety - always listed fourth or fifth in the credits. "Round and Round" would be the one role that won them an Oscar like the late Jack Palance in City Slickers or Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, but they would never be out of work for very long. As a matter of fact, one of Thursday's few songs from new album Infestation, the fast-paced, punky "Last Call," was one of the best.

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Stylistically, Ratt's dark, streetwise metal slides in nicely among their contemporaries like Cinderella, Whitesnake and Skid Row. Bassist Robbie Crane and drummer Bobby Blotzer created a thick, bluesy bottom for Pearcy's even thicker sneer. Although guitarists Warren DiMartini and Carlos Cavazo seemed to have little to no use for much flashy fretboard show-offery, the few times they did - as on the new, Van Halen-esque "Best of Me" - were also the few times Aftermath's attention really wandered during the hour-long set.

But unlike those three other bands, Ratt went through its entire set Thursday - and, for all Aftermath knows, its entire career - without one single power ballad, or anything even approaching a ballad. How this happened we have no idea, and it probably means Pearcy and DiMartini's kids could have gone to better schools if they had. We have to admire them for that.

Ratt does one thing, does it reasonably well, and doesn't try to pretend to be anything other that what it is. Their fans obviously appreciate them for that, and maybe some of the higher-profile artists whose careers have run into such an awful ticket-sales ditch this summer ought to pay more attention.

Personal Bias: Meh. Always loved "Round and Round"; never owned a Ratt album.

The Crowd: Older, lots of black, perhaps a few surgical enhancements.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Goddammit!" (as a happy, not angry, exclamation)

Random Notebook Dump: "Round and Round"... "Lack of Communication"... "Back for More"... what is it with the three-word titles?

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