Ratso: Live in Otautahi (digital outlets)

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Loose End
Ratso: Live in Otautahi (digital outlets)

A friend – who has been worshipping at the church of Auckland garageband rock'n'rollers Ratso dozens of time – and I (a more recent convert) agreed on something important about this band.

That of all the offshoots of the wonderful D4 – Jimmy Christmas' Luger Boa and bassist Dion Lunadon's solo albums or with A Place to Bury Strangers – Rasto, with D4 bassist Jake (now on guitar) are far and away the best.

They nail down great, rowdy three minute pre-punk dirty-arse rock'n'roll with shouty choruses.

It's impossible not to be moved by the universal truths they deal in: “shut your face”; “arseholes and bullshit”; “I don't know what I want, you don't know what I need” . . .

Live they are a thrilling mix of tight and disciplined playing with intense hard rock guitar solos from Tomi, drum thunder (Alex), booming bass (Bruno) and shouty vocals (Johnny and Jake).

And this comes with a chaotic delivery where anyone within a few feet of the stage should probably wear a crash helmet. Or a jester's tricorn hat.

They are enormous good fun and on their launch of this debut album in Auckland they dressed like a glam band reduced to the box of discarded dress-ups in an op shop.

They enjoy themselves as much as their audience.

And in a world of seriously po-faced artists who come on like they're doing us a favour with their melancholy songs, Ratso just shake the walls, rattle your brain, rearrange the furniture, plough into the crowd and send everyone home happy.

You need to experience them live, but until that day this album – Johnny on “tambourine and hi-jinks” – recorded in Christchurch will give you all the clues you need to what they deliver.

Light touchpaper and stand well clear.

Or get up close to the explosion.

.

You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here

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