Rat Ta’Mango: The fruity future of blues rock

Rat Ta'mango at Ed Castle. Image credit: Jack Brookes
Rat Ta'mango at Ed Castle. Image credit: Jack Brookes

Well, it’s pretty safe to say the future of music in Adelaide is in some very talented, capable hands after seeing Rat Ta’Mango celebrate the release of their self-titled debut EP at the Ed Castle on Friday the 19th of August.

With an August residency at Cherry Bar in Melbourne, we can’t fail to see these guys well on their way to a bright future in music. They attracted attention in 2016 with their debut single ‘Let It Go’, and their self-titled EP is bound to turn heads as it explores a unique blend of blues, roots and good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.

In a fantastic Friday night display of melodious mirth, Rat Ta’Mango was joined by local roots aficionado Ollie English as well South Australia’s funkiest bunch of misfits, Slick Arnold.

Now, you may have been hearing the name ‘Ollie English’ around town over the past year or so, and for good reason. This was our first English experience, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but things looked good when Ollie and his compatriots took the stage, dressed like The Boss and his E-Street Band.

With a decent, if slightly timid crowd lingering a little away from the stage, it was up to Adelaide’s Bruce Springsteen lookalike to make them feel at ease. All it took was the first lyric of the first song, and that timid crowd was transformed into an awestricken mass of admiration. The melting blob of bodies edged closer as it heard the dulcet tones produced by this man’s vocal chords.

He sounded not like The Boss, but like what I imagine would emanate if James Brown and Otis Redding’s voices were fused together. The audience was entranced, from start to finish, by these enigmatic vocals.

Next up, Slick Arnold treated us to an extremely enthusiastic brand of Chili Peppers-inspired funk rock. The Barossa Valley natives hurled themselves about the stage, snapping the crowd out of its Ollie English-induced hypnosis. With a lot of RHCP, a little Pearl Jam, a sprinkling of Delta Riggs and vocals reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme, it’s clear to see why Rat Ta’Mango wanted these guys on the bill.

After a flourishing final drum solo from the funky three-piece that probably got a little out of hand—as all good drum solos should—it was time for the main event. Ever cool, calm and collected, the three members of Rat Ta’Mango floated up to the stage as the now-buzzing crowd scuttled closer still.

“We’ll be the worst band here tonight,” singer and guitarist Paris had said humbly, earlier in the evening. While it was near impossible to find flaws with any of the acts, though, he and his two bandmates absolutely stole the show.

Showcasing original songs, new and old, Rat Ta’Mango further announced itself as a name to remember for years to come. The boys bent the frenzied crowd to their will with instrumental prowess the likes of which today is hard to come by. Paris’ ubiquitous, velvety vocals rang out over fuzzy yet somehow smooth guitar and bass riffs.

Having somewhat of a cult following already, Rat Ta’Mango was certainly the crowd favourite, at one stage getting a few audience members up on stage with maracas and tambourines. The highlight, however, would have to have been their encore performance. The crowd chanted pleadingly as the boys made the move to depart the stage and, obligingly, with a wry smile at his two mates, Paris picked his guitar back up.

“This is a song we wrote on the way here,” he said with a cheeky grin, before breaking out into Cream’s ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ and then bringing the house down with a flawless transition into ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’ by Tame Impala, and THEN for the finale, seamlessly melting into ‘Seven Nation Army’. A three-way mashup for the ages, this was the perfect way to conclude a fantastic display of home-grown musical endowment.

Above all, though, it was fantastic to see such a substantial crowd turning up to see these up-and-coming local acts perform. Seriously, the Adelaide music scene is where it’s at right now.

You can check out these local legends’ EP here and find all three bands on Triple J Unearthed; check them out and give them some well-deserved love!

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