By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)
To call RAT BOY a divisive figure in the indie music scene would be an understatement. The human embodiment of marmite, his self professed ‘scum’ fans think he’s the best up and coming artist around whilst those that aren’t too keen see him as a cheap pound-land variant of Jamie T which, seeing as he constantly refers to the store in his songs, seems pretty appropriate. Regardless of this, it was staggering to see the extent of which RAT BOY, real name Jordan Cardy, has blown up recently: a sea of tracksuit wearing teens marched down Sauchiehall Street with some queuing for hours, the line stretching around the corner and down the entirety of Scott Street. Like him or not, there’s a very present and enthusiastic audience for the odd lad from Essex.
From the get go it’s clear that, unlike the likes of Mike Skinner who he’s constantly compared to, RAT BOY isn’t here to make some slick social commentary or anything like that. What is at the forefront of what they do is just fucking about and with songs about fake ID and being skint, his songs seem to definitely strike a chord with some of the audience especially those getting chucked out for a variety of reasons by the bouncers before the gig had even started.
Once the nights proceedings actually kicked off however what followed was enough to get even the most passionate of RAT BOY slaters to have a laugh. The gig seemed to embody the cliche teenage years, something not ideal for someone like myself who has just turned 20, with overly sized packets of fags standing dominant on the stage beside Jordan and his band mates Liam Haygarth (bass), Harry Todd (guitar) and Noah Booth (drums) who seemed to be enjoying the brash movement their weirdly fused music was inciting. Whilst he doesn’t have an abundance of songs to churn out, fans are still patiently waiting for a debut LP to arrive, the tracks that were played all seemed to land quite well in the tightly packed ABC.
The hip hop elements that are oddly fused with staple indie rock guitars were something that took some getting used to when it came to their EPs but when it comes to adapting these for a live audience, they seem to be more at home. Some tracks still seemed to be quite clunky even if they do shine brighter than their recorded alternate but ‘Sign On’ seems to be the strongest of the lot and has only grown better with time, presenting an arrogant wide-boy attitude without going overboard with unpredictable sampling.
While the night felt short, especially for those unlucky enough to get chucked out, it was for the most part sweet. Some like myself may still feel uncertain about how RAT BOY plans on winning over naysayers who feel like his music is too juvenile to really have much substance to it. When on stage however, it’s hard to find yourself not throwing these worries out the door and singing along about being young and dumb.