Like Prometheus, Rats on Rafts are fire stealers, tricksters, concerned with conjuring up form from fire and brimstone. They are the most elemental of bands and watching them in action is like standing next to a blast furnace.
One day, I promise, I will get bored about writing about Rats on Rafts. But not yet. Rats are unstoppable at the moment.
A break, more beers then Rats on Rafts. The Great and the Good were out for them; bookers, press, agents, managers, radio presenters.
Rats on Rafts are not trying to make friends, instead they’ve done the thing you always WANT a band to do and that’s do their own thing.
I don't think that a lot of people will understand what we've done, but you know what, this is a record that will survive, long after all the other stuff around has been forgotten. I am convinced of that.
This was a night when Rats on Rafts finally threw off any pretence of being a “leuk bandje” or a trendy/newsworthy/”controversial” act or any other of those miserable and oversimplified straightjackets that the Dutch media seem so happy to dish out to them.
You know we’d maybe make a dub record, we’ve thought of making a dub record. That should happen at some point. It will happen after we have new stuff, but you’ve got to take things from dub and keep it Rats. We can’t be just appropriating it. But we love reggae….
Now for years I have delighted in instructing younger music fan friends in the insurmountable fact that Mudhoney were better than Nirvana. This might sound like arsey music snobbery, but in this case it's not, it's just true.
The band sound tough, quietly confident onstage and seemingly attuned to being a band in whatever circumstance. In that respect they remind me of seeing the Stone Roses back in 1988-9. And it’s not too much of a risk to say they’re the best live guitar band in Holland at the moment.
On this showing Rats were tougher, looser and a bit messier than is normal but to be honest it’s good they mess with their sound: they have to avoid being straightjacketed by people’s expectations now they are getting popular.
Ah, The Moon is Big. These nine songs of grandeur and crackpot simplicity - by turns insidiously familiar yet frustratingly remote - are weighed down by their spiritual forefathers.
All I can tell you is that I walked away from the gig wishing I had the ability and the means to follow them to Nijmegen, where they were due to play a second show that evening and then onwards and beyond. This may not have been a great gig but, my word, they’re one hell of a band.
At one point Incendiary turned to John Robb, who was also present, and blurted out “it’s like Margaret Thatcher on vocals”.
I lean over to my long suffering colleagues and say “this is the best fusion of 1979 and 1989 you’ll hear” I still believe it. The set can be seen as a confirmation and a revelation, depending on how often you’d seen them.