Rat & Co @ Northcote Social Club
There’s a familiarity that comes with entering the beer-stained carpets of the Northcote Social Club. It’s warm and cosy like that old blankie from your childhood and on this icy Friday night in the dead of winter, Rat & Co’s hazy, musical landscapes in the band room might be just what the doctor ordered.
Joshua Delaney and Kaia McCarty-Smith step onstage and casually slip into opening the show without a fuss. The music’s glowing warmth instantly weaves its way into the audience and wraps its arms around us. Tonight they play to an intimate crowd largely made up of familiar faces. They’re met with much anticipation after touring Europe with Chet Faker and playing sell-out shows in Melbourne and international supports with Gold Panda.
Backed by John Wallar on guitar and Nick Park on drums, the set is all encompassing as each song is played in its delicate entirety, vulnerable fade-outs included. The crew alternates between a selection of new songs and some tracks from their One (壱) Uno (壹) Ein album, released in March this year.
Upbeat tracks like 8 Bit Death and Now You’re Dreaming along with glitchy notes from Sea Wind warm the crowd up like mulled wine. The Letter got an introduction as Kaia’s personal favourite along with a shout out to those in the crowd who created and featured in its video clip.
It feels as if the audience is made privy to a casual jam session. Then Kaia admits it’s nice to be back playing with the full band after months of touring Rat & Co with only Josh and himself. There’s an obvious comfort between the two, but it’s hard to ignore what John and Nick bring to the stage. With a bass, keys, sampling, two guitars and drums there’s a definite fullness to the sound in the room. The live drums give an edge of crisp aggression that intensifies the layers within the songs. It’s the perfect contrast to Delaney’s ethereal and echoing vocals that are hard to falter even with a few reverb and microphone glitches.
The sample of new songs was perhaps more dance worthy than those on the album. The set closes with a new upbeat track awash with more layers than anything previously heard from the boys. The perfect set closer, it showcases a heady crescendo of what Rat & Co do best and gets everyone dancing.
After an impromptu encore Rat & Co officially ride in on the coattails of winter to a warm welcome home and leave us with more anticipation than we started with. The next tour won’t be so intimate.
BY ISABELLA UBALDI
LOVED: The chit chat between Delaney and a few audience members in between songs.
HATED: Not knowing what the closing song was, such a good one.
DRANK: Aguila beer.