Ratatat - Frog - London

Frog, is an alternative rock club night held every Saturday at The Mean Fiddler, situated on Charing Cross Road in London’s West End. It is fast becoming London's top alternative party night.

The club's musical policy leans mostly on the whole rock side of things with only a few indie trinkets from years gone past getting a play. The dj’s play songs from current in vogue artists and classics stemming from the veritable pantheon of rock. Different djs play every week so the tunes are always going to sound fresh. Add to that a different secret live band playing every week and you have the makings of a very good club night.

The Mean Fiddler (LA2) is the little sister of next doors much larger, and more famous, Astoria Theatre. The layout is pretty much the same, and so is the dark decor. There’s a fairly large dance floor, balconies and smaller bars upstairs. When full, it’s one of those clubs where sweat drips from the ceiling despite the air conditioning. Dress accordingly, because Frog is normally pretty much stuffed to the gills with rockers, poseurs and indie kids.

It’s the Artrocker dj’s that run the rule upstairs playing some excellent records, in their little open jails also known as dj boxes. Downstairs, it’s heaving with lecherous rockers in the main bar taking advantage of the cheap drink offers. What’s there not to do but join them and then go in headfirst and mix it up with the people on the dance floor to the soundtrack of the dj.

When it hits 1am it all stops, as this is the time the weekly live band come on at. The band in review tonight are called Ratatat.

Ratatat, are an electro guitar duo from New York consisting of Mike ‘Snake’ Stroud and Evan ‘E*Vax’ Mast. Mike Stroud is renowned as one of New York’s finest guitarists and has spent his time touring the world with Ben Kweller and The Dashboard Confessional. Evan Mast as been producing music as E*Vax for the past few years, releasing most of his output on Audio Dregs Records, the label run by him and his brother E*Rock.

Ratatat seem to be their collaborative project that they’re heavily promoting having signed to XL Records earlier this year.

Live, it’s two blokes with guitars and a keyboard and with no vocalist.

What do they sound like?

Imagine a cross between the Mirwais song 'Disco Science' and the guitar parts of Daft Punk’s 'Aerodynamic' and you’re very nearly there. Add some shuffling beats and strange woozy keyboard sounds with no vocals, then you have a band that are totally reliant on letting their excellent music do the talking.

Their set is full of finely crafted songs that seem to permeate the air with looping synths and the amazingly aggressive guitar work that complements them. The audience love the songs as they’re a brilliant mix of rock meets electro and thus are intoxicatingly danceable. Even from the first listen, they sound like they’ve been honed over a long period of time, which they probably have, for every hook possible.

Most of the set tonight sounds like an Indie take on Daft Punk but that’s not a bad thing. Rather, it’s a winning formula and in a live setting like this, it works very successfully. Ratatat deserve to do well when they have songs as accomplished as this and here’s hoping they do. Ratatat make a very listenable mess of excellent guitars and dance beats.

I was wondering if Frog would work. As it’s a strange set-up for a club i.e. Tunes till 1am, weekly live band of the moment comes on, plays for 20 minutes or so and then strolls off, music starts up again. It all seems to gel together though, which is testament to the effort of the people that organise this in the background to make sure the night runs smoothly.

Frog has a lot of positives going for it, it’s busy and it has great bands playing live to a raucous crowd. I highly recommend that you go along and see for yourself. It’s a great night out.

Last updated: 30/07/2018 09:39:26

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