Live at Cockpit on Monday, 9th February 2004
Ahhh The Raveonettes. The first time I saw them was in May last year, mostly to promote 'Beat City', the final single from their debut mini-LP 'Whip It On'. Nearly (well, a few months off) a year later, and they return to the city of Leeds with two bands supporting (last time we got Stellastarr* before they went stellar).
First on the bill is Headway. After a long wait (it said 'early show' on the ticket!!) the 5 young-ish looking members of the band come on stage. To be honest, whoever you put on before the Danish duo, I don't like at all. Hence Headway get on my nerves. The anticipation for Sune and Sharin gets too much, and I have to leave for the bar after a while. There's nothing much wrong with Headway though, but then again, there's nothing that special about them. Soaring choruses, FM friendly rock chords jingle away, and the singer has a fake American accent. In a word, they're pretty generic.
The Veils come on after an even longer wait, and so by now I'm physically spitting venom at the thought of having to wait any longer for my beloved Raveonettes (who, incidentally, take their name from a Buddy Holly song called 'Rave On'). I had a bet with my mate to sum up the Veils in two words. I eventually won with 'Melancholic whimsy'. That's right, it's all floaty melodies, melancholic acoustic guitars, and mournful lyrics about girls (probably). Not bad, and especially on their recent single 'Lavinia', they sound really rather good. But, as it goes, I'm too fidgety and annoyed to care about anyone else but the main attraction.
When Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo walk on stage with their extra guitarist and bald drummer, the crowd goes nuts. I know I did. I've been waiting 2 long hours for this, although it felt like I'd stood at the Cockpit bar for a week or so. A special mention should go to their always excellent array of CDs playing before they come on - all doo wop and 50s pop, it's a rare treat.
The first track on tonight's set list is 'Remember', the first from their new album, 'Chain Gang Of Love'. It's a lovely, beautiful little number, just the right sort of tune before they let rip the upbeat, white noise fuelled stomp of single 'That Great Love Sound'. Now that's how to start a gig.
As we journey onwards with the Raveonettes, they tear through their back catalogue with a vengeance, ripping the crowd's ears to pieces thanks to their fondness for razor sharp feedback and piercing white noise. I don't mind my ears bleeding, as long as it's to this lot. 'Little Animal' is perhaps my favourite tune of theirs, and when it appears in tonight's show, I'm delighted. "Sune's gonna sing you a song about a little animal" says breathtakingly cool bass player Sharin Foo, before they unleash those familiar chords (the album, by the way, was entirely recorded in the key of B flat major).
I've never seen a band look so static and icy cool before. They barely move an inch all night, but manage to totally rock, with no compromise. The tiny laptop next to the even smaller drum kit belts out the samples to the brilliant 'Love Can Destroy Everything' and the rousing 'Do You Believe Her', and even kicks out the jams to some of their other songs too. The drum kit is so small, it's hard to imagine that relentless pounding is coming from it, and I suspect even they think so. It's damn loud, there's cymbals crashing all night, and huge, riff-laden monsters are rearing their heads at every turn.
After the cover of Eddie Cochran's 'C'mon Everybody', the band depart backstage for the customary encore. During the small break, two quite clearly drunken lads are stood next to me, yelling "Sharin! Sharin! Sharin!" who then responds when she's back on stage, by saying "you can be the president of my fan club". They then race through three quick songs including their first single 'Attack of the Ghost Riders', and then leave for good this time.
I've been waiting ages for that, and it was most definitely worth it. The Raveonettes don't muck about- harsh guitars, relentless drums and that big, fuzz bass all attack the ears with such a beautiful savagery, you don't mind having the ringing in your ears for the next few weeks one bit. Right, where's that Sharin Foo fan club?