19 year-old Essex boy Jordan Cardy (Rat Boy) kept his show snappy, and gave out some snapbacks to his fans
21st September 2015
Before Rat Boy and his band had even played a note, a stage invasion—commonplace at his recent gigs—felt imminent. One joyful youth had scaled one of the pillars in the centre of the Ruby Lounge and had been ordered down by security staff before even the crew left the stage. It was hard to discern whether the older attendees, who propped up the bar, were there to witness his speedy ascent to prominence, or to supervise the under-18s who make up most of the audience.
There was a sense of the lunatics having taken over the asylum, and this feeling escalated when the man himself (aka 19-year-old Essex boy Jordan Cardy) emerged to take pre-show selfies with the crowd, and to distribute an assortment of headgear, including bucket hats, snapbacks, and beanies. On social media he indicates a fondness for hats, and I wondered then whether he ever considered the moniker Hat Boy.
After all of this, much of Rat Boy’s performance was surprising for someone whose music bristles with so much youthful energy. He had little to say apart from a quick “thank you” in between songs (every song mind you, so his manners do deserve credit), and he seemed happiest when diving into the crowd, or larking about with his fans after the show. It would be inaccurate to describe his on-stage expression as nonplussed, lest it conjure images of Cobain-style nihilism. It was more a case of him simply standing on stage, chugging through the songs.
Nevertheless, the fans lapped it up. The final songs, ‘Sign On’ and ‘Fake ID’, which are gaining online popularity, and a brief jam of the ‘Fool’s Gold’ riff, were particularly well received, and his sharp lyrical take on today’s England still cut through. His riffs were fun and catchy, which, combined with his punchy, Jamie T-style delivery, did all the work for him.
The set was only 10 songs long, and fans chanting for an encore were disappointed, so if Rat Boy keeps this up as he expands his repertoire, it looks like the hearts and minds of the world’s youth are his to capture.