The Raveonettes | 04.08.11

The show was an accurate representation of how The Raveonettes should transpire live—loud, dynamic, and unbridled; but also organized and confident, similar to what we hear on record.


Sweat dripped from foreheads all around as we were poised into whatever space was left at the hot Firebird. The place was packed and The Raveonettes sold it out. The air became a frothy jungle climate, the floor became a slip ‘n slide, and the noise was brought upon us, all in one night. Seeing The Raveonettes in person conjures up 60s mod squad with a New York City strut and overall dark demeanor to match their songwriting, specifically on Raven In The Grave, released just last week to mixed but generally positive reviews. If there’s one thing Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo possess as their prize, it’s consistency, and they proved it with a set all lathered up in surfy guitar crunch and sad but powerful harmonies with a certain level of pop sensibility peppered in for good measure. Opening with “Recharge and Revolt”—possibly the strongest tune on Raven—they continued into the set tackling old, new and obscure numbers that most die-hard fans probably hadn’t heard in a while. They keep it simple live and on record—together on stage it was Wagner, Foo, their signature stand-up drummer, and another player alternating between a second stand-up drum set and guitar. Anyone familiar with the band will be well aware that simple drum beats is what drives their feedback-drenched guitar and for them, this works just fine. Anyone else even more familiar will note that Foo now exclusively plays bass again, leaving the shredding to Wagner and the unmentioned “other guy”. We heard three tracks off of Lust Lust Lust, which were their strongest—“Dead Sound”, “Lust”, and “Aly, Walk With Me”.

Their presence on stage was enhanced by what appeared to be fluorescent lights sequenced next to each other on the back wall, strobes, and a fog machine—all of this was the perfect backdrop to a band which already looks like a Velvet Underground/Jesus & Mary Chain reincarnate. Couple this with the drilling fuzz coming from their strings and a straightforward backbeat carrying the songs along and you get a grimy, back alley vibe that could’ve rivaled any dressed-in-black New York dive bar show on any given Friday evening. Add the sticky heat in the venue and there’s your dirty whipped cream with a cherry on top.

A lot of their live material consisted of new stuff, but the best crowd responses were garnered from the older, less dramatic stuff that most were familiar with. However, we shouldn’t overlook the dynamics of the new songs—most are synthy and carry an almost goth/new wave sound but still also contain the loud, distorted tones which we’ve come to love about The Raveonettes. Things took off during “Dead Sound”, which was played early to grab some momentum, then we heard a couple from Whip It On and Chain Gang Of Love that carried the crowd through their slower, newer tracks.

A proper end crescendo was ignited with “Aly, Walk With Me”, where Wagner bent down to bring forth two or three separate swashes of noise, all while the backbeat was keeping the chaos in a straight line, but still letting it cut through eardrums and souls alike. The strobes were going wild, the band was writhing but completely focused on the monster they were creating, and the stage and crowd alike became an industrial hearth of sound and brightened darkness. It would’ve been nice to have had more of those moments throughout the entire show, but for what it’s worth, the show was an accurate representation of how The Raveonettes should transpire live—loud, dynamic, and unbridled; but also organized and confident, similar to what we hear on record. | Justin Curia

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