Concert Review: The Rat Opera at Tobacco Road, September 19

Hearing Damage: The Rat Opera

Tobacco Road, Miami 
Saturday, September 19, 2009 

Better Than: Reminiscing at home by yourself about Rat Bastard's courageous and outrageous accomplishments. 

The Review: 

For more than two decades Frank Falestra, better known as Rat Bastard, has shaped the South Florida music scene. A masterful producer and an eminent luminary in the noise music movement, Rat Bastard is without a doubt one of the most admired local heroes.

As such, for many years, all kinds of mind-blowing stories have circulated about Rat Bastard's biography. 

So to pay tribute to his friend and mentor, Rob Elba (of the Holy Terrors) and friend Brian Franklin set to work. Last year, they started writing a musical -- yes, really -- based on Rat Bastard's life. The project has been dubbed Hearing Damage: the Rat Opera, and this past Saturday evening marked its first public performance, at Tobacco Road in downtown Miami. The atmosphere was one of celebration, with Mr. Bastard himself making the rounds and catching up with old friends.

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The concert began with the energetic, boisterous "Wings and Parts 1," followed by "A Boy Called Rat." And although many of the songs performed at the beginning of the night were acoustic, things got revved up eventually by bandmates Will Trev, Russell Mofsky, Andre Serafini, and Jim Camacho, who created a real wall of noise. Another highlight was the song "Outside The Bar," a tribute to Rat's guerilla method of mounting spontaneous concerts in unlikely places. The song really captured all that is magical about his creative approach. All in all, the evening was a fun unveiling of a well-deserved musical tribute to one of Miami's legendary musical mavericks. But if you missed it, don't fret -- another performance is planned for October 3 at Churchill's, which promises to be a more fleshed out, theatrical stage show. 

Critic's Notebook 

Personal Bias: I am an unabashed fan of both Rat Bastard and the Holy Terrors, and have previously written about the latter for New Times

Random Detail: A really cool and one-of-a kind life-size photo cutout of Rat Bastard was stolen (or kidnapped) from the back of the stage. If you happen to have any clues as to its whereabouts please contact the creators of Hearing Damage at facebook.com/pages/Rat-Opera 

By The Way: The next Hearing Damage performance takes place at Churhcill's on October 3, and will feature added lighting and stage props. Until then, you can listen to a few of the songs on YouTube

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