Last Night: The Raveonettes, Tamaryn at the Granada Theater

The Raveonettes, Tamaryn
Granada Theater
April 11, 2011

Better than: quoting the raven nevermore.

After a hazy, ethereal opening set from the San Francisco-by-way-of-New York-based, Mexican Summer-signed Tamaryn, who provided a fine example of how to best use the Granada's projection screens, what with their performance fully engulfed in encapsulating visuals, the stage was capably set for Denmark's The Raveonettes. And, themselves noted purveyors of an alluring-cum-oppressive output, the duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, joined on this night by two backing players who each switched from guitar to their own set of spare drum set-ups throughout the night, hardly disappointed.

Now a decade into their career and touring to promote Raven in the Grave, their fifth release, and perhaps darkest yet, The Raveonettes, indeed, looked quite comfortable being back on stage, as Wagner had promised would be the case earlier in the week.

Performing before a set of amps maked with the words "Rave" and "On," their set opened with "Recharge and Revolt," the peppy Jesus and Mary Chain-meets-Phil Spector opening cut on Raven in the Grave. But, lest anyone was worried that their performance would be marred with an abundance cuts off the new, albeit phenomenal, release, The Raveonettes quickly calmed such fears.

Not long into the band's 75-minute offering, Foo even addressed as much, noting the fun of playing new material, but promising that older offerings were on the way in the set list, too.

Sure enough, when she, Wagner and their backing players launched into "Dead Sound" just a few songs into the band's offering, the crowd reveled in as much. Egged on by the first notes in the song's piped-in icy synth line, which serves as a near-perfect juxtaposition to the otherwise fuzzed-up material heard on this and every other Raveonettes cut, the audience let their appreciation be seen and heard alike. The abundance of neo-goths and once-weres in attendance shimmied in place as only those of that ilk how to -- and when the set of LED light poles behind the band shined on for the first time all night, and in time with the music no less, they let out an audible and collective shout of glee.

And so the rest of the night went, really. Though not a massive crowd, this group appeared an especially responsive one.

It wasn't hard to see why: Wagner, in particular, smiled gratefully back at his audience throughout the night, repetitively breaking down the cool wall his band's music so easily builds up between them and the audience. Their offerings, meanwhile, were beyond crisp.

By the time the band offered up Raven in the Grave's undeniable "Forget That You're Young" and, perhaps the band's biggest calling card of all, "Aly, Walk With Me," in its encore, the crowd had fully succumbed to the band's full-on aural and visual assault; that last song in particular found the band shrouded in a cloud of smoke and strobes. It looked -- and felt -- like an explosion.

Cathartic stuff, to be sure. An appropriate release to end the night, no doubt.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
This was my first time seeing The Raveonettes, despite owning and enjoying most of their catalog. Last time I was supposed to see them, they had to cancel at the last minute -- and were replaced by Neon Indian on the bill.

Random Note: Why are bands so often slighted for sounding like other bands. Like sounding like Jesus and Mary Chain is a bad thing.

By The Way: Big ups to Foo for standing out in front of the venue and running her own merch booth before her band's set.

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