“You know I never say the same thing twice” – except when it comes to RATBOY – and it’s usually the phrase “GO AND SEE HIM LIVE”. Twenty-four hours after performing an intimate gig in his hometown of Chelmsford, RATBOY – aka Jordan Cardy – hit the road again to play to another sold out crowd. This time the setting was London nightclub Heaven, and it was his biggest UK headline show to date.
Long before the venue was ready to open, fans lined the streets waiting to catch a glimpse of the now infamous 19 year old. The pavements were littered with crushed beer cans and empty wine bottles, and kids were belting up and down the cobbles shouting and screaming when they caught sight of him. To the security team, the scene probably looked a tad dystopian, but the buzz was more intoxicating than the cheap Rosé these kids had been hastily swallowing pre-gig. When I say ‘kids’ I’m not being a patronising bastard, it’s the truth – the majority of RATBOY’s fans were under 18, and most looked like they’d be skipping school the next day to recover from their hangovers/mosh-induced bruises.
Once everyone had squeezed in to the venue, the lights went down and cheers erupted as the words ‘RATBOY’ appeared in red and yellow lettering at the back of the stage. Cardy’s silhouette materialised to the sound of police sirens, which rang out briefly before the band launched in to brand new single ‘Move’. The song sped by in a manic rush of sweat, shoving and screaming. It was hard to keep track as they played continuously for a solid hour. ‘Left 4 Dead’ and ‘Wasteman’ were clear favourites amongst the masses, whilst lesser known tracks – like the misanthropic ‘I Hate You’ – were met with equal enthusiasm. Several times during his set, Cardy asked the sea of fans to move aside and create space in the centre of the venue, so that bodies could swirl at full speed in to one other – ‘Sign On’ being the stellar example of said behaviour. RATBOY is yet to release a debut album, but he had plenty of material to spoil the crowd with, and they reacted in anarchic fashion; much to the joy of Cardy and his band.
For the closing track ‘Fake ID’, RATBOY encouraged the front row to join him in the spotlight – “there’s stairs either side of the stage you know…” – and it was an invitation no-one could refuse. Security coped remarkably well considering they had a hundred star-struck kids stampede in their direction, but they couldn’t stop everyone – a few lucky stragglers managed to squeeze past the bouncers and on to the stage with RATBOY. Naturally, they recorded their victories via smartphones, but it’s hard to stay mad when it was clear how fucking delighted they were. As Cardy left the stage, the crowd didn’t calm their efforts to claim a bit of his spotlight – and he was sent back (presumably by management) to ask everyone to calm the fuck down. It didn’t really work.
If RATBOY genuinely believes we’re a “nation of no hope, addicted to coke” that’s a crying shame, but at least we’ve got his riotous mix of indie rock to provide the soundtrack to our scummy little lives.