Ratt/Zodiac Mindwarp Live @ JB's, Dudley (UK) - 3rd June 2008

This is the first time "Ratt" have graced the shores of the UK since the rather lacklustre "Reach for the Sky" album. So it was always going to be an "Out of the Cellar" event for most fans of the Hair Metal scene, especially given metal's prolonged popularity around the Midlands.
Hence Dudley JB's is reassuring full of Ratt Bastards by the time the doors open, shame then that "Zodiac Mindwarp" couldn't have been so punctual by setting his rock n roll alarm clock an hour or so earlier. Seemingly trapped in the rather dire motorway networks around the Midlands, "The High Priest of Love" and his "Love Reaction" not only have to suffer the indignity of setting up in front of a full venue, but without any line check they then have to stumble through an inglorious four-song attempt of saving their day. It's not fair to be critical of such circumstances, but it does remind me that every time I've seen the ole "Skull Spark Joker" recently I've been less and less impressed.

"Ratt" though are a different class altogether. My two previous experiences with "Stephen Pearcy" and crew had hardly been what you would call ideal, but mainly for shall we say "personal" reasons. The last time when they supported "Ozzy" at Birmingham Odeon I had to suffer the Ultimate (Sin) embarrassment of being caught mid liquid motion by one of my all time heroes "Noddy Holder". So tonight I really was "Back For More" albeit without any toilet excursions planned.
With the core "Ratt" trio of Pearcy, DeMartini and Blotzer present in this line up, they have long since been complemented by bassist "Robbie Crane", and more recently "John Corabi" in the place of "Robbin Crosby". The latter is something of a masterstroke as the ubercool Crabby easily complements the rather limited (as always) vocal range of a certain frontman. The rich heritage of this band's back catalogue is clear for all to see when they enthusiastically launch into the choicest 90 minute "Ratt N Roll" set list you could ever wish to hear. Seven songs into the set, we have already had the debut mini album in its entirety, and then after "Wanted Man" one of the choicest musical moments I've seen at a gig in a long time. "Warren DeMartini" cranks out the riff to my personal fave "Ratt" tune "Lack of Communication", and suddenly the row of twenty somethings crushed up against the stage launch into this spontaneous synchronised head banging session. And everyone and I mean everyone around them joins in looking to any outsider like some twisted scene of ironic lampoonery. "Pearcy" clocks this and gets it straight away, smiling he turns to his colleagues like "Paul Stanley's" better-looking brother and "Ratt" ignites, burning their way through a breakneck speed "Lay It Down" and a way cool "You're in Love".

"Stephen Pearcy" probably best summed up events when he proudly announced "100 people, 1000 people, 10000 people, we don't care, we just want to have a fucking party". Some may feel this reunion "Dangerous but not worth the risk", and have stayed away, well I can tell you on this strength this show this "Ratt" line up is easily the best of all the reformed Hair Metal bands I've seen in the last few years, by a long mile, and you can include Motley Crud in that list.

Touché Mr Pearcy, Blotzer, De Martini, Crane and Corabi. Touché indeed.

by Johnny H.

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