Words and Pictures: Robert Cavuoto
Ratt was back for more playing the Wellmont Theater to a hungry New Jersey crowd who wanted to see one of their favorite 80’s bands. For Ratt fans, Ratt n’ Roll has always been about sticking to your guns. It’s about music with attitude, laced with fun and fuel injected riffs. The good news is Ratt is back; reformed, re-energized, and moving forward.
Founding members Stephen Pearcy and Juan Croucier are the driving force and carrying the torch for the band. Newcomers Jordan Ziff and Chris Sanderson on guitar and Pete Holmes on drums; did an excellent job and capturing the essence, vibe, and spirit of the band’s classic songs. Each song was played with the passion it deserved and the fans ate it up.
The band was energetic and in touch with the audience’s desires to hear their hits opening with “Wanted Man,” an MTV-fueled song with a hard-driving guitar and perfectly showcased Stephen’s raspy vocals. The band unleashed a barrage of hits one after another like “Lack of Communication,” “You’re in Love,” “Back for More,” “Lay it Down,” and “Body Talk.” Stand out songs of the night were “Way Cool Jr.” and the hauntingly melodic song from the movie Point Break; “Nobody Rides for Free.” They closed the show with fiery versions of “Back for More” and “Round and Round;” as no Ratt show would ever be complete without them.
Stephen who was decked out in leather pants, a sleeveless t-shirt and vest mentioned that he was dealing with an injury of sorts and wasn’t going to be jumping around like a monkey. Throughout the night he seemed to favor his left leg but with microphone always in hand, he used every inch of the stage giving the fans an explosive performance. This attention-demanding showman let the audience know he is still a premier frontman who can pack the vocal abilities they expect.
Juan Croucier was highly energetic and never stood still for a second of the show, even when he was laying down the backing vocals. He put his bass through a series of acrobatic moves that only trained professionals should tackle. All ten fingers were constantly moving at breakneck speed for every beat and measure. This aggressive style of playing was done tastefully to balance the guitar and vocals yet stay in the pocket of the drums.
Jordan Ziff and Chris Sanderson displayed some impressive guitar playing and brought their own swagger to the stage as they took the spotlight for the solos providing the rock star posturing. Their solos were flawless and played guitar with a sense a fury. Chris paid homage to the late Robbin Crosby using two beautiful custom Jackson King Vs which were Robbin’s model and aptly named after him; “The King.”
Ratt upheld the integrity of the music that helped make the soundtrack of our youth. It’s that constancy that fans look for regardless of the band members as it gives them something to count on and tonight they didn’t let anyone down.