Buzzed Bands Podcast, Ep. 2 w/ Cold Blood Club

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ratatat & Kid Cudi Played Terminal 5

Brooklyn Ski Club sent out a new writer last night to the Ratatat & Kid Cudi show. Her name is Kendra and this is her first BSC post.

So, Kid Cudi. Until tonight I had never actually heard of him. Apologies for being out of the ‘underground, hipster-rap mixtape' loop. A little research prior to the show resulted in some interesting results: his collaboration with Kanye West on 808’s and Heartbreak, including the tracks “Welcome to Heartbreak”, “Paranoid”, and “Heartless”; a homemade ‘trailer’ for the new Transformers movie featuring his song “Sky Might Fall” that is rumored to have lead to talks to make it official; and appearances in Rolling Stone, on 106 & Park, and MTV for his new album Man on the Moon, among other things.

When I arrived, there was some dude alone on stage with nothing but a laptop, earnestly rapping his little heart out to a bored-but-empathetic crowd. I thought – please, no. That can’t be him…

I reminded myself of Ratatat to curb my urge to bail and upon closer inspection (and a glance at the clock) I realized with relief that it wasn’t.

Kid Cudi walked onstage literally a few minutes after Earnest Rapper Guy, “straight from the airport” and one of the first things he said was something like: “How many of you motha-fuckas even know who I am?”

I was embarrassed that I did not, because mostly everyone up in the place made noise. It seemed not only was he known by these hipster kids, but they seemed to wake the hell up when he came out, which I thought would not happen until Ratatat emerged.

He signaled his DJ and the show began. Immediately, I started drawing comparisons to Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, but once I really started listening to tracks like “Dat New, New”, “Sky Might Fall”, and “Day and Night” I began to study him as an isolated entity in a genre saturated with…sameness. Sure, he had himself an Auto-Tuner, okay he wore, big geek glasses, and yeah he proclaimed himself an original like most hip-hop artists do.

But he danced. He was passionate about his shit – yelling at the sound guy to pump it up because “this is my shit and I want it to sound the best”. For me, Kanye West is a dude who makes pretty decent music, wears weird outfits, and really can’t carry a tune. Whereas Kid Cudi is my cousin…the dude who lives down the street…I wanted to go backstage and kick it with him. I wanted to get to know him, and I’ll tell you that’s impressive because that is not something that happens to me when I listen to hip-hop. His tracks are thoughtful, real, and…well, earnest. But not lame-earnest like the previous occupant of the stage (sorry, dude, whoever you are, but – give it a couple of years, will you?).

I downloaded “Day ‘n’ Night” on iTunes the second I got home and will go on the search for his other mixtape tracks soon.


Where do I begin? I’m sure to offend lots and lots of people. Here goes…I actually really enjoy them – in the intimate confines of my headphones or my home sound system. I’m not sure what I expected of their live show, not having been to one before now. And, actually, when the bright lights blasted on with the heavy electric synthesizer intro, I got really excited like everyone else up in the place.

Their giant projector screen featuring weird, pop-culture imagery and video was rad, and guitarist Mike Stroud’s Pete Townsend-like back-bend began what I expected to be a mega-electrifying show.

Then…something happened. It started with my favorite song of theirs, “Wildcat”, and went on through song after song, so much so that I found myself scratching my head in confusion. I hate to use my douche bag voice here, but…dude, every song sounded the same!

I couldn’t tell if they were playing “Tropicana”, “Nostrand”, or “Germany to Germany” from one track to the next. Was it just me? Everyone else was dancing their asses off, smiling from ear-to-ear, spilling their beers all over themselves in their rapturous enjoyment of the show. Meanwhile I just stood there like…seriously? I’m the ‘tard, here?

I mean I tried – I really tried to get into it, but this problem bugged the crap out of me the whole time. Once it was over, and people were streaming out of the place sweaty and looking dazed with satisfaction, I immediately put on my headphones and found them on my iPod. I listened harder to each song than I ever have, and they are definitely distinctly different. So what gives?

Perhaps the key when going to see these kinds of acts is just to let the music wash over you, beer in hand, and bask in the blending of beats and rhythm without analyzing it too much. Let those bright-ass lights and that tightly bundled mass of people moving and swaying hypnotize you until you’re gyrating and pumping your fist for the hell of it with little thought beyond “this is awesome!” Perhaps…but that’s not my scene, man.

I still really like Ratatat…in my headphones.


Anonymous said...

Milly July already on Ratatat tracks!!! Check it...

spoons said...

You are retarded. The purpose of Ratatat is music that is different from everyone elses, but that it all sounds very similar (they use the same guitar effects for every song.) I can't believe you would put them down because, knowing Ratatat at all, you need to expect that. And also, if you like Ratatat so much, and every song sounded the same, why wouldn't you consider it to be a long jam session?

bane said...

you dont pay this person do you?

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