RADATTACK Poised to Take Over the World with Rock...Again

By: Mike Thomas

 RADATTACK on stage at Rumba Cafe. By PJ Ford. 

RADATTACK on stage at Rumba Cafe. By PJ Ford. 

Childbirth is usually referred to as a miracle, but to the casual observer it’s really more like nature’s greatest magic trick. Nothing one minute, then a fully formed human being the next, as if from nowhere.

In reality, there is a lot more that goes into it: complex biological processes involving slow formation. Countless hours of preparation on the part of eager expectant parents. But to an unattached observer? Something from nothing: magic.

This ridiculously simplified take on the creation of human life seems an apt metaphor for the sudden appearance of RADATTACK–a band comprised of bonafide children who emerged screaming onto the scene, demanding nothing short of undivided attention and adoration.

The childbirth metaphor started to fall apart in the opening hours of RADATTACK’s EP release show at Rumba Cafe, as few newborns will experience the privilege of having the Worn Flints precede them on stage. The involvement of said Flints, which Columbus Underground called a top-five Columbus act at the height of their powers, feels like an implicit endorsement of relative newcomers RADATTACK.

 Kenny Stiegele of the Worn Flints. By PJ Ford.

Kenny Stiegele of the Worn Flints. By PJ Ford.

Not to be outdone by the young guns that would follow, the elder rockers laid down a set full of improvisational, shred-heavy takes on many of their fan-favorite numbers. Flints frontman Kenny Stiegele traversed the small stage like an unruly spirit, issuing forth searing solos from his trademark flame-top ax. To the surprise of no one, the room was packed to near capacity.

Then the Worn Flints set ended, and capacity was shown to be relative.

With a large following of their peers front and center (and left and right, too) RADATTACK took the stage to cacophonous cheers and applause, teenage and otherwise. Queue the hundreds of articles that will someday dub these guys “The Stranger Things kids of rock.”

Like the young cast of the sleeper-hit-turned-sensation series, this band has immediate charm backed up by undeniable chops. Adding to the comparison is their ultra-styled look, which at first seemed completely genuine and like a wardrobe pulled from a movie about teenage rock gods.

There’s something to be said for truth in advertising when it comes to band names. Once RADATTACK got started, it did not relent–and rad it was indeed. Rumba Cafe, the black walls and narrow dimensions, which sometimes lend itself to the feeling of being trapped in a closed shoe box, felt absolutely electric. From punky two-minute jams to longer numbers rife with effects-laden soloing, the group delivered a no-filler set of high-energy rock.

 Henry Morris of RADATTACK. By PJ Ford. 

Henry Morris of RADATTACK. By PJ Ford. 

Audience members bopped politely in place, chaotically leaving the ground if not quite moshing. One could be forgiven for forgetting that this show served as the release of the group’s debut EP, as the songs were delivered with the polish and musicianship of a veteran group.

The set proceeded with minimal interruption or stage patter, minus the particularly memorable and cheeky intro to one number explaining that it was “about anal.”    

RADATTACK is raw, punchy garage rock in the vein of those early 2000’s groups such as The Vines or The Hives that seemed poised to crash over pop culture like a wave; really only carried The White Stripes into the permanent sedimentary record. Now, fifteen-plus years later, mainstream tastes have moved away from guitar-based music in favor of electronic pop and hip-hop. In light of these shifts, there seems to be a horde of music writers falling over each other to dub Jack White “The Last Rock Star.”

This is a distinction that may soon feel moronically outdated (if it doesn’t already). If RADATTACK is any indication of the direction that the next generation of musicians will take, the culture can brace itself for yet another rock renaissance. With its obvious talents and the high level of buzz surrounding the group at this early stage of its existence, RADATTACK is poised to take over the world.