Wiki, frontman of RATKING might have thumped the microphone against his forehead to punctuate a rhyme during his Wednesday night performance of “Piece of Shit.” I might also be confusing the powerful-impact-boom from the mic with another sound coming from producer/DJ Sporting Life’s MIDI controller. Truth be told, the night changed from that point onward. My double-fisting of Budweisers at the magazine release party for The FADER came to a halt because I would need my hands to be free again once I entered the mosh pit that stood before RATKING at Gilded Lily. Too many dudes, and one too many women posed to push and shove each other to the soundtrack of these young throne bearers.
Surprisingly, the entire room looked numb when RATKING ripped into “Snow Beach,” the first track in a barrage of bangers. There was very little movement to what I believe to be the “Bohemian Rhapsody” of their XL Recordings debut album (So It Goes, 2014). From standing in the back of the room, every vibration shattered the ice crystal Nike SB Dunks on my feet, and my limbs were soon happily discombobulated. I swayed back and forth, and bounced next to my man Benamin rocking an ONLY NY Haring-inspired T-shirt. We mouthed Wiki Virgil’s epic tale about catching a case, battling a court case while the weather is also against you in a Pelle Pelle and North Face, and the saturation of tourists in NYC. I’m sure we were the only ones within 20 feet echoing the headliner’s words. Are there too many lyrics in this record to follow? I find it to be one of the realest confessions of New York City life. And in an era when reality bites, and virtual reality rules, there has to be a sharp enough voice to deflate the ballooning trend of beats over rhymes.
I was worried for the rest of the show. Then a dude seated in the booth in front jumped (out of shoes and socks) over to the dancefloor to get rowdy-rowdy with the kids who had enough of the frills of a gold glittered floor, and wanted to destroy something beautiful. And so they did. Security tried to surround them, but were outnumbered as kids leaped off of the side of the stage into a sparse crowd, only to to be shuffled to the side, smiling at their bravery. With my hands free, I tucked in my chain, buttoned my denim jacket, and prepared for the worst. It was the trap beats that pushed everyone over the edge. The hypnotic, aggressive bounce of records like “Piece of Shit,” “So It Goes,” and “Cocoa ’88” made the audience imitate Wiki’s relentless thrusts of his body in all directions of not giving a fuck. RATKING closed their set with “Canal,” their anthem celebrating downtown New York City life. Snapshots of Wiki, Hak, and Sporting Life were juxtaposed in my mind with the flicks I took on my iPhone. My shots were dark, off-kilter, but inspired. They were prettier pictures than a shot of the girl rocking an Amber Rose-styled Caesar, or of the elaborate LED chandelier. The rest of the night gets blurry, and it doesn’t matter now.