Live Review

RATT ‘Back For More’ In New York

RATT ‘Back For More’ In New York
RATT (L to R – Chris Sanders, Pete Holmes, Stephen Pearcy, Juan Croucier, and Jordan Ziff)

Sleaze rock veterans RATT scurried into Long Island, N.Y.’s Paramount on Thursday, December 19, as part of their In Your Direction tour, celebrating the 35th anniversary of the group’s seminal offering, Out of the Cellar. The rodent-branded quintet, led by gravelly-voiced front man Stephen Pearcy, barreled through a brisk, hits-heavy set that leaned considerably on tracks from the 1984 hair metal classic.

The album’s infectious leadoff track, the western-themed “Wanted Man,” doubled as the show opener, as the vocalist moseyed onto the stage, trailing his musically-gifted bandmates. Black ‘n Blue’s Pete Holmes’ pounding drum beats immediately engulfed the acoustically-rich music hall before lead guitarist Jordan Ziff’s instantly-recognizable introductory riffs on the popular song followed, creating a heavy metal sonic boom that lay the foundation for the rest of the evening.

Jordan Ziff (Photo: Joe Puccio)

Along with current Britny Fox lead guitarist Chris Sanders, handling rhythm guitar duty here, the trio proved to be exceptional alternates for fan-favorite former players Bobby Blotzer (drums), Warren DeMartini (lead guitar), and the late Robbin Crosby (rhythm guitar).

An energetic rendition of Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog” showcased Pearcy’s signature swagger adequately before a deliciously funky version of “Way Cool Jr.,” the sole selection from 1988’s underappreciated Reach for the Sky. The one-two punch of “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job” and “Slip of the Lip,” arguably two of RATT’s catchiest numbers, were a clear highlight, while the simmering, multi-layered masterpiece, “Nobody Rides for Free,” kept the momentum in motion.  

Juan Croucier (L) and Stephen Pearcy (Photo: Joe Puccio)

Performance-wise, one would be hard-pressed to top bassist Juan Croucier. The only original member other than Pearcy who’s still in the unit, the charismatic plucker did his custom twisting and twirling that he created decades ago while still managing to maintain the beat beautifully. As much as he skillfully played each note, the music clearly played him as well.

His raucous antics were perhaps best displayed on a couple of deep Cellar cuts, “I’m Insane” and tour namesake “In Your Direction,” a pair of often overlooked tunes that are just as worthy as the more familiar mainstream anthems, “Back For More” and of course, “Round and Round,” which were, unsurprisingly, granted encore status.

Stephen Pearcy (Photo: Joe Puccio)

Although the band has seen countless personnel changes since initially forming in the ’70s, and despite the fact that the current lineup has been together for less than two years, this “new breed” of RATT will hopefully be scampering around for the foreseeable future.

Setlist:

  1. Wanted Man
  2. Dangerous But Worth the Risk
  3. You Think You’re Tough
  4. Walking the Dog
  5. Way Cool Jr.
  6. I’m Insane
  7. In Your Direction
  8. Lack of Communication
  9. Lay It Down
  10. You’re In Love
  11. Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job
  12. Slip of the Lip
  13. Nobody Rides for Free
  14. Body Talk
  15. Back For More
  16. Round and Round    

Click here for upcoming shows at The Paramount.

Click here for RATT’s tour dates.