Words and Pictures by Rory O'Connor
In an age where so many genres and musical ideas get mashed together, the Raveonettes are unique in how singular their vision and how unabashedly they practically wear their loved ones on their sleeves. But, as it turns out, they are none the worse for it. In fact, it is the paradox created by this pulling from the past and channeling it into something that radiates an effortless cool, metallic, almost futuristic feel, both in presence and sound--which may ultimately be their most magnetic quality.
And that was precisely how they appeared on stage Sunday night. Shone like stark silhouettes against a deep plume of smoke and heavy back lighting--with more than the occasional burst of strobe lights--echoing something back at us that sounded a bit like the past, present and future rolled into one, the Raveonettes delivered in the most irresistible of packaging.
Thought the Danish born duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo was joined by a percussionist and a bass player, both remained buried deep in the back of the stage for most of the show. “Gone Forever,” the second track from the band’s latest, In & Out of Control, started the evening off. Proving early on that they were not averse to mining older material they followed with, not one, but, two tracks, “Do you Believe Her” and “Veronica Fever,” from their 2002 EP, Whip it On.
They rolled through a handful of songs from last year’s resplendent Lust Lust Lust, including the single “Dead Sound.” The album’s success apparently reinvigorated the band for some older fans that had mistakenly written the band off, while also attrachting a host of new fans to the fold. While it may or may not be their best to date, Lust definitely captures the balance between their love of the fuzz and their pop sensibilities best.
Though I haven't completely warmed to Lust, hearing the songs live brought me one step closer as it presents an interesting contrast: the album is loaded with darker themes and track titles, like “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)” and “Suicide,” all while presented in a sort of saccharine pop manner.
For the most part their show consists of Sune bouncing about the stage, adding his sinewy lead guitar lines over Sharin’s dense textured rhythms, while she stands stoic and statuesque on her side of the stage. However they did break the mold about mid set--Sharin putting down her guitar and playing drums for some newer tracks, like “The Beat Dies” and “Heart of Stone.”
The reworking of “Little Animal,” from the Chain Gang of Love LP, was an interesting moment. Normally, the track is a fierce number. Instead it became a subdued solo number, Sune standing alone at the mic. As the evening drew to a close Sharin announced "Aly, Walky with Me"; “We have one more for you, but it’s a good one.” For an encore they came back out with “That Great Love Sound,” a song whose charms have not dulled one bit since its release in 2003.
For the Raveonettes an enduring, magnetic appeal lingers after their performances because they bring more than just the music to the stage. In an interview Sune Rose Wagner mentioned that they may have more literary and film influences than musical. Seeing the band live confirms that statement. They exude a cinematic quality which glows on stage like an old-fashioned film reel on screen. That film is sleek, sexy, and alluring, and it can envelope you so long as you let it. And really, who wouldn’t want to be sucked inside a black and white movie for just a night?