Monday, January 18, 2010 at 9 a.m.
The Hype: With massive rock geek fest NAMM in town, the House of Blues Anaheim wisely booked 1980s glam metal faves Ratt. In case you missed the memo, the San Diego band (or at least that's where they formed back in the '70s) is gearing up for the release of Infestation, their first album in over a decade. After enduring a full day of random guitar noodling, blasts of brass, badly beaten drums and other random noises at NAMM, I looked forward to hearing some music played in, y'know, a cohesive form.
Ratt at House of Blues Anaheim
The Show: Having risen to fame during the golden era of MTV, Ratt was one of the more prolific bands with stylized videos that propelled their music into multi-platinum status. Flashbacks ran through my mind when Ratt opened the show with the bombastic "You're In Love." It was exciting to see Warren DeMartini actually shred on his custom Charvel guitar instead of seeing it hang on a wall at the booth at NAMM. "Lay It Down" and the slashing riff of "Lack of Communication" whipped the crowd into a frenzy as beers were hoisted in the air, cheering on the band.
"Take A Big Bite" sounded like vintage Ratt but I didn't immediately recognize it was a new song until I did some research. Steven Pearcy was decked out in all black and greeted the fervent fans in the front row while dispensing his trademark raspy vocals. Carlos Cavazo, formerly the axe man of Quiet Riot, looked the most youthful of all the members as he viciously navigated the fretboard of his Gibson Flying V guitar. DeMartini and Cavazo threw down mind-blowing dueling solos for "Wanted Man."
Even Pearcy asked the crowd "I suppose you were at NAMM today?" to which those who didn't have badges booed loudly. Who can forget Ratt's contribution to the Point Break soundtrack "Nobody Rides For Free"? The crowd sure didn't as they gleefully sang along. "Way Cool Jr." was as bluesy as ever with DeMartini fingerpicking the whiskey-soaked intro guitar parts. The guitars continued to blaze during the fast paced "Body Talk."
The crowd really lost their shit when Pearcy introduced the real Van Halen bassist and current member of Chickenfoot, Michael Anthony for a scorching cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire." Pearcy quipped that they used to trade guitars with Van Halen back in the day. "Round and Round" closed the evening in grand fashion that still had the crowd chanting for a second encore when the curtains closed. They may not have to wait too long as Ratt will likely tour again soon to promote their new album.
Silent Treatment tried to warm up the crowd with their version of '80s rock to mixed results. The one dude who was stoked though was their photographer in the pit headbanging during their performance. Get a grip dude.
The Crowd: Mostly what you would expect for an '80s metal crowd. I did spot some folks still wearing their NAMM badges, which was a fashion faux pas. Iron Maiden, Dokken, and multiple Ratt concert t-shirts populated the venue.
Overheard: "Better rock dude, I came all the way from Seattle!" was shouted seconds before Ratt hit the stage.