The Rockpile has done it yet again folks! My favorite club in Toronto, they have consistently time after time been able to present awesome rock shows and lure bands up to our neck of the woods here in “The Great White North”. This time, it was Ratt’s Juan Croucier who made the trek north of the border. Nevermind att the “name” business that’s rampaging the social media web sites involving former bandmates Warren DeMartini, Stephen Pearcy and Bobby Blotzer concerning the use of “Ratt“. Croucier is not going out on the road as Ratt, he’s going out as “Ratt’s Juan Croucier“, meaning the guy who was from that band. I don’t get the issues, but I also don’t profess to know (or care about) the minute details. The rock community has seen this type of thing with bands in the past and for me it’s just about the music.
All I can say is that Juan Croucier may not be the voice that people recognise and know as the distinctive sound of Ratt but on Saturday, September 26 at The Rockpile in Toronto he sure was to all of us in attendance. The stage was set by local bands Aliens Ashore (quickly becoming a Meister favorite), Tequila Mockingbirds (definitely NOT a Meister favorite), The Reed Effect and Amour before Croucier and crew took over. “Dangerous but Worth the Risk” from the classic 1985 Invasion of Your Privacy album got things going and from there Croucier and his band thundered their way through one classic after another. Croucier, looking like “Joe Cool” (maybe “Way Cool Jr.”) decked out in dark sunglasses and a black bandanna was a flurry of motion around the Rockpile‘s technicolour carpeted stage, dancing a little two-step quite often. The others got in on the act as well during synchronised choreographed swaying with the guitars. “Scene of the Crime” quickly had any audience member not already singing along joining in the movement. “In Your Direction” brought us to the awesome “Wanted Man” and through to “I’m Insane”. Prior to “Lack of Communication”, Juan took a moment to address the Rockpile, which he had done briefly in betwixt other songs as well. He let us know that they were now going to get into “Lack of Communication”, but with the original lyrics so if we were singing along and they were different don’t worry he’d get them up on websites soon. Check out my video below from the show. I’m not sure really at what point it happened, but it became apparent that stupendous drummer Pete Holmes (Black ‘n’ Blue) had a little bump in the road. The bottom of his snare drum had blown out, man does that guy hit like a monster! After a quick switcheroo, they launched into “Lay it Down”, followed by “You’re in Trouble”, “Way Cool Jr.” and “You Think You’re Tough”. Croucier let us know that the next one would be the last song recorded by the classic lineup, actually the only lineup of Ratt he’d played with as a prelude to “Nobody Rides For Free”. “Body Talk” was basically the nail in the coffin for me voice wise as I felt the beginnings of soreness and raspy, gravel feeling that would surely be running rampant tomorrow. “Back for More” was tastefully dedicated to Robbin Crosby as “it always makes me think of him”, Croucier explained of the deceased guitarist. “What You Give Is What You Get” and “She Wants Money” took things to the show-closing and biggest Ratt hit “Round and Round”. Promising to come back again amidst professing his love for Toronto and the audience Juan Croucier and his phenomenal band left the stage with the crowd screaming for more! That’s 16 Ratt tracks that I’ve been listening to since youth that I never thought I’d be hearing live and for a guy with a Ratt tattoo, that’s a big deal! Thanks, Juan, when you come “Back for More”, I’ll be there going “Round and Round”!
See below for Brian Ronald’s photo gallery of the event!
PHOTO GALLERY BY: Brian Ronald