The Raveonettes at the Fine Line, 04/07/11
The Raveonettes and Tamaryn
April 7, 2011
Fine Line, Minneapolis
Going into the Raveonettes set at the Fine Line on Thursday night, I was concerned that the show would be overshadowed by the incendiary performance I had witnessed the night before as the Joy Formidable laid waste to the 7th St. Entry. But those concerns turned out to be completely unnecessary, as both the explosive Danish rock outfit and their stellar opening band, Tamaryn, completely jolted me out of the post-show hangover haze I was in and brought me resoundingly back into the here and now. The Raveonettes delivered a vivid, vibrant performance that showcased both their new material and their substantial back catalog, all while maintaining the icy cool and cocksure composure that both Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are known for.
A truly fantastic opening set by the San Franciscan quartet Tamaryn set the stage perfectly for the Raveonettes, as their ethereal, simmering style of shoegaze suitably complimented the sound of the headliners and got the mood and atmosphere of the room right as the crowd started to swell.
Wagner and Foo took the stage along with two other backing musicians (who went unintroduced), who mainly played keys, guitars and drums throughout much of the performance. On the pulsating opener "Recharge & Revolt," Wagner stuck only to vocals, ceding the guitar work to one of the members of the backing band, while Foo delivered a smooth bass line (as she would all evening). After a couple more moody new songs ("War In Heaven" and "Let Me On Out"), the set truly ignited with a blistering version of "Dead Sound" (featuring an excellent dual-drum attack) that found both the band and the crowd starting to relax a bit and get loose.
The band kept the dialogue to a minimum throughout the performance, only offering a couple of heartfelt thank-you's to the crowd but otherwise not allowing anything to get in the way of their taut, nicely paced set. After a feedback-laden rendition of "Noisy Summer" from their excellent debut, Chain Gang Of Love, the show really took off with a soaring, raucous version of "Love In A Trashcan" that was a clear highlight of the set. The Raveonettes do such a great job blending their infectious, 50s-sounding melodies with the roiling distortion of the shoegaze era, crafting songs that are euphonious but also edgy and raw, and that dichotomy and untamed balance was on full display throughout their stormy 70-minute set.
They kept the strong mid-set momentum going with tense, mercurial versions of "Lust," "Apparitions," and "Evil," before Foo thanked the crowd while introducing their next number: "We have a new album (Raven In The Grave) that came out on Tuesday. We're still celebrating its release. This is a new one called 'Ignite.'" Their new material is a bit more subdued than their older songs, stripped free of the surf-rock backing beats in favor of more downbeat, doleful rhythms and darker subject matter. But the new tracks fit in seamlessly with the older numbers in the set, and sounded more lush and expansive live than they do on the album.
The end of the set was a blur of distortion and strobe lights, as the band really hit their stride and set the room on fire. "Attack Of The Ghost Riders" was a tempestuous, volatile romp, while "Heart Of Stone" had a cool and detached groove that proved to be irresistible. The band slowed things down quite a bit for "My Time's Up," a tender, crestfallen duet that sounded like it could be a cool-kids prom theme straight out of 1959. It ended the main set well, and showcased the indelible melodies the band can create when the walls of feedback are torn away.
The encore was brief but impressive, with Foo's breathy vocals driving the current hit "Forget That You're Young" heavenward, all setting the stage nicely for the boisterous, blistering set closer "Aly, Walk With Me," which featured two different fierce guitar freakouts by Wagner, enveloping the room in a sea of discord that consumed the entire crowd. It was electric and untamed, as the band continually broke free from the arresting melody of the song in favor of the wild cacophony of distortion and lights. It was a great finish from a band that truly knows how to create tension and warmth within their songs, and how to bring that artistry and depth to their live show as well, sweeping all of us away with their impeccable sound and their striking style.
Critic's Bias: I love the Raveonettes' early albums, but their new material didn't really hit home for me until this show. Now the songs have fully revealed themselves.
The Crowd: I was worried that the show would be sparsely attended when I saw that the Fine Line had tables out on the main floor, but the room filled in nicely by the time the headliners took the stage.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Sharin Foo is so damn hot." (I'm just quoting myself here, sorry.)
Random Notebook Dump: I can't say enough good things about the opener, Tamaryn. They were exactly what I needed to hear as I walked into the venue. Their music both captivated and completely energized me. I hope that they come back to Minneapolis very soon--a headlining gig at the Entry would be perfect for them.
For more photos: See our full slideshow by Tony Nelson.
Recharge & Revolt
War In Heaven
Let Me On Out
Love In A Trashcan
The Love Gang
Attack Of The Ghost Riders
Heart Of Stone
My Time's Up
Forget That You're Young (Encore)
Aly, Walk With Me (Encore)
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