The Ratells, a pop/indie band from Sheffield, have come a long way in a short amount of time. Currently in the middle of their 3rd UK tour, the four boys are attracting followers left, right and centre, with catchy lyrics, powerful melodies and a charming stage-presence which makes them instantly likeable.
Bodega’s small and rather subdued crowd was brought to life by support act Them Balloons, whose songs include fun and quirky Insinuate Nothing, their set made even better by the lead singer’s interaction with the crowd and the inclusion of some well-known covers, such as Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog, and Outkast’s Hey Ya. Definitely worth checking these guys out.
The Ratells opened their set with Fade which, though relatively unknown to most of the crowd, was a good opener and set up the evening of fast pace and big chords, immediately introducing us to the lead singer Ashley Holland’s pure voice and range. The boys played their more familiar songs, building up to their best-known track Faces (definitely worth a listen to if you only listen to one song), alongside some lesser-known tracks, such as slower and more delicate Cecilia, the girl for who it was written for pointed out to the crowd as a girl at the back of the room. A shout out goes to the guitarist who struggled on with technical issues throughout the first half of their set!
The set ended with the four band members ‘destroying’ their set, first climbing onto the amps, much to the concern of Bodega’s workers, then striding off-stage, the guitars abandoned on stage and the drums pushed – carefully – over. Though an unexpected ending, it seemed a forced attempt to add a crazy rock element to an otherwise indie and fun gig. The encore that then followed took place in the middle of the crowd, their stage no longer usable, which added an intimate feeling to the evening. The crowd were asked to sit on the floor around them while they performed an acoustic version of Faces. This was a nice touch, and ended the evening on a less bizarre note than if there had there been no encore.
The music was catchy and they did well to enliven a relatively small crowd. The boys had good stage presence and are clearly good friends, pausing to hug each other during songs and talking to the audience in between. A combination of the likes of Don Broco, Hot Chelle Rae and Bastille, The Ratells were engaging and their music had all the variety, melody and appealing lyrics needed to make this a great night out.
by Alice Billin