Rat Boy

Rat Boy


As I arrive at The Ruby Lounge, I’m given a golden wristband as well as the standard stamp on the hand.

I think nothing of it. I go down to the bar and get ID’d; “I know you’ve got a wristband, but we still have to check” says the barmaid without prompt. It isn’t until I turn around to check out tonight’s audience that I realise why there are such strict measures in place. The Ruby Lounge looks like a sixth form common room, the kids immaculately dressed in smart sport jumpers and turtle hats, running around the venue taking ‘selfies’ and waving fake flowers about…. Honest. They’re here to watch Rat Boy, an Essex based teen who’s been getting everyone all excited with his blend of indie, pop and hip-hop.

I’m here tonight to catch Flesh, who are up first! The Manchester based four piece have been gigging hard and releasing super fun videos for the past year or so and seem to be finally making waves thanks to  their snotty blend of anthemic brit-pop and gnarly 80’s hair metal. It’s early doors, but the kids are pressed right up to the front and ready to go. The band keep it simple by playing a pretty short set and play the five tracks they’ve released, each one a glorified hit! ‘Avin’ It In Ibiza’ kicks off the set in all it’s grunge soaked swag, boasting a big chorus which makes me open my arms aloft and the kids looks at me as if to say ‘who let their embarrassing big brother out?’.  Latest single ‘Dead Lonely’ is the highlight for me, with it’s 80’s power rock guitar chugging which sees frontman Robbie in full on head banging mode as he wrestles around the stage with bassist Harry. Although it would of been nice to hear a few newer tracks, particularly former live staple ‘Champion’ (a future anthem in the making), it makes sense to  get these massive hits out to as many people as possible. If you want to see a fun, charismatic live show with big tunes to match, go Flesh!

The main support tonight are a band called Zibra, who are four trendy young lads that make shiny electro pop. They have  a few decent hooks and the crowd certainty enjoy their four to floor beats but it I can’t say it grabs me too much. A fair effort never the less.

Rat Boy saunters on stage finally along with a prepubescent backing back and they launch into a very uplifting set of songs full of bright sounding guitars, groovy baselines and simplistic electro samples. For the most part it works; it’s catchy, the crowd are jumping around like its not a school night and the songs do have a very party hard energy to them! It’s just Rat Boy’s vocals that I struggle to get on board with at times. It just sounds far too similar to Jamie T. This is by all means not a bad thing but it’s just that I’ve heard it all before! But, in another sense, at least it’s authentic and he’s mc’ing in his regional dialect and making very British sounding music which does seem to be missing from the current UK indie scene. And to the kids who don’t know who Jamie T is, at least they have a new messiah to get into that marries hip-hop and indie in a believable, infectious manor.

Tonight was all good, harmless fun. I’ve sadly become too old and cynical to come out as giddy as everyone else but Flesh and Rat Boy both proved that there’s still life in the old dog (me) yet.

FLESH Official | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

RAT BOY Official | Facebook | Twitter

Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.