RATATAT/Omar Souleyman/Black Pus @ Central Park Summerstage 7.13.11

Since watching RATATAT's wizardry unfold under the night sky during this year's fantastic Coachella stream, we wanted to go to there but NYC style. We hit the jackpot with the announcement of this Summerstage show. Not only did we get what we wished but we got a second chance to right the wrongs of last year's Terminal 5 show: get there early, stand closer to the stage and dance the whole night through. This mission was beyond accomplished.

Arriving not long after doors and with time to spare, we quickly remedied a massive hunger with some amazing Mexican style corn on a Chinese stick. As we sat and ate the delicious corn looking like idiots we saw guitarist Mike Stroud. He and his beautiful 'stache probably saw us too -- as we were staring and the only two people in that area-- and chose not to encourage the dorky corn-munching beasts in the distance. We don't blame him. After this sighting, appeared another vision. One of the long, gingery/goldie locked and full-bearded persuasion, a stage crew dude who with that hair, effortless cool and perfect worn t-shirt and jeans combo could easily pass for a third member of RATATAT.

Found a decent spot near the stage where we half basted in the sun to the drumming hysteria of Black Pus. The one-man-band of Brian Chippendale, in a creepy cool  blue-bearded green mask and headphones, went ape shit on his psychedelically painted kit and said indistinguishable distorted gibberish into a phantom mic, making our brains leak through our noses. It was pretty much the same mind-frying magic he threw out when I saw him play with Lighting Bolt in April and it was gooood.

Veteran Syrian singer Omar Souleyman came out after a lengthy intro that highlighted his impressive career, bringing the noise and the rain. Our perfect sunny day was brought to a pause by a storm cloud but by no means stopped Souleyman or our hips from moving to the electro rhythms and his beautiful ornamented voice. In his traditional Arab garb: a red and white shamagh and pristine white bata and sunglasses, he let the music and voice do all the work, only walking from one end of the stage to the other clapping, instructing us to do so, too. Despite some rude people, many in the crowd seemed to enjoy him as much as we did. So did the sky, which after the big soak, gave us a rainbow in appreciation.

Mike and Evan also enjoyed both of the openers from backstage through rain and shine, equally amazed and humbled to be in the company of such talented musicians that night.

It wasn't long until the duo caused their own mind explosions from the stage. Once again, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast proved to be the dudes with the most raditude that night.  We all got into the groove and put hands up in the air to the rhythm of their little bit folky and very rock 'n' roll bangers "Loud Pipes," "Lex," "Wildcat," "Falcon Jab," "Drugs," "Neckbrace," "Party with Children," "Shempi," "Montanita" and a new song, too.

Standing closer had its obvious benefits, we got to witness some of our favorite things during the set:

* The visuals. Especially the ghost string section in powdered wigs and sweet shades projected on the glass.
* We don't know if he was specifically pumped because of the awesome lineup or the stars were aligned but Mike was infected with the funk like we've never seen before. When not engaging in his signature guitar shred moves (that backbend!) or on a speaker, he was bobbing his head, shaking those shoulders, dancing about and pumping the crowd up super hard. Whatever it was, he definitely gained extra status in our hearts after this display.
* Double-teamed drums (!!!) one exclamation mark for each time it happened.
* BFF moments. Basically any time they were next to each other, their tightness is apparent and we love it.

In our own BFF fashion, held each other tight and squealed bursting with excitement. Happy to have experienced yet another great show together, acknowledging that we are addicted to RATATAT and we will see them live wherever we are, forever until the end, and finally that this show was only the beginning of their sweet sounds infiltrating our days and nights, filling us with thoughts of being reincarnated as their songs until we're blasted into the cosmos by another great band.

Photos from the show here.


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