Ratboys @ Globe Hall, Denver, US, October 21, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ratboys

Ratboys, Another Michael

Ratboys @ Globe Hall, Denver, US, October 21, 2023,

Oct 30, 2023 Photography by Emma Moody Web Exclusive
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Somewhere along our journey from eating platters full of street tacos at Denver’s La Diabla on our way to the River North district of the city we seem to have entered a time warp back to Austin circa 1986. An era where, for whatever reason, indie bands were commonplace performers at BBQ restaurants - the original Austin location of Stubb’s and The Green Mesquite being the most well known. Entering Denver’s Globe Hall you first encounter a menu offering brisket by the pound and fried okra, to name a few Lone Star state staples. And on an unusually warm autumn night, taking a breather in the Hall’s outdoor courtyard helped to complete the nostalgic picture.

Ratboys
Ratboys

But time traveling aside, this night Globe Hall had one of the finest modern era indie bands on hand. Chicago’s Ratboys have been cranking out albums full of catchy sing-along tunes for a dozen years now, but fortuitously have released their best yet in this year’s The Window. But first up is the Michael Doherty led, Philly based Another Michael. Touring behind their month old record, Wishes to Fulfill, it was clear some of the crowd on hand were here to soak in some of their favorite songs. The band started with the simply sung “Guitars” from the new album, but the early set highlight came from the older “New Music.” Spare and with gorgeous harmonies, the song recalled erstwhile Run For Cover label mates Pinegrove. But “Angel” and the title track from the new album were equally fine.

Another Michael
Another Michael

Head Ratboy, Julia Steiner, was working the merch table and chatting with fans before Another Michael took the stage. But it was a quick between acts transition, with the band hitting the cozy confines of the stage right on time. Steiner appeared wearing a Steve Young 49er’s jersey and a low slung Flying-V guitar. Appropriately, the band started off with the leadoff track from The Window, “Making Noise for the Ones You Love.” A rave-up to get things started always makes sense, and her bandmates (Dave Sagan, lead guitar; Sean Neumann, bass; and Marcus Nuccio, drums) fell right in. Neumann in particular seemed to relish the rock forward tunes, leading to a rarely seen broken bass string at the close of the night.

Ratboys
Ratboys

Fellow Chicagoan John Prine may have sung about an illegal smile, but Steiner’s smile was more of the eternal variety. It looked like she was having a blast jumping from early day songs “Charles Bernstein” and signature tune “Elvis is in the Freezer,” to ones from the new album. “It’s Alive” was dedicated to the band’s foray to Denver’s Vital Root with Steiner quipping that “it’s not every day we eat a vegetable on tour,” for the Mother Earth themed song. Energy levels ranged from the all out assaults of “Cross That Line” and personal favorite “Empty,” to the more heartfelt moments of “The Window” and “Bad Reaction,” with Nuccio on tambourine and some nice off-mic harmonies from Neumann.

Ratboys
Ratboys

Sagan, for his part, is so skilled and not one to change out guitars on every song that his laid back demeanor belies his abilities. “No Way” gave him a chance to flex a bit early on in an extended jam, but saving the last of the songs to be played from The Window, “Black Earth, WI,” to the end of the night made for his shining moment. And his effortlessly thrown in country licks on songs like “Morning Zoo” and “Elvis” are slyly grin inducing. With the band denied a tour on the heels of their February 2020 release of Printer’s Devil (just before everything went to shit as Steiner put it), it made perfect sense that the band would close with two of that album’s noisiest songs. “Alien With a Sleep Mask On” and “Look To” closed things out in dual claps of thunder.

Ratboys
Ratboys

If everything is bigger in Texas, it’s safe to say that Colorado has the taller mountains. And on this night Ratboys could have climbed any of them bottom to top with heaps full of energy and a fully receptive crowd on their heels. In spite of my six plus year track of following the band’s every move, it was my first time seeing them live and my second time working with my daughter Emma behind the camera. A memorable night for sure and one you would do well to replicate yourself. After all we are all just Ratboys in the end.

Ratboys
Ratboys




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