The Raveonettes

support Mini Mansions
author BV date 11/12/14 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

I’ve seen The Raveonettes in concert before, but never quite gotten the hype that surrounds a live show of theirs. However, following the release of “Pe’ahi” which features some of the strongest material from the band in recent years, I figured it was time to once again give them a fair chance to make an impression on me in the live setting – I figured that if it wouldn’t work out this time, then clearly The Raveonettes as a live act just aren’t for me, and I could then move on knowing I’ve given the act a fair amount of listens.

All photos courtesy of Stefan thor Straten

Mini Mansions

First up, however, was the support band that The Raveonettes had brought with them from Los Angeles. Mini Mansions took the stage in bathed in relative darkness. Opening with a synthesizer dominated soundscape, the trio eventually settled in with a full band featuring a minimalistic drum kit, a pair of synthesizers and a hugely effects-laden bass – all topped off with a couple of male vocals. The effect-laden bass quickly became the dominant element of their sound with its alluring, occasionally polyphonic presence which transcended the limits usually associated with the bass guitar. As such, one never felt the lacking of a guitar in the mix as the melodic, highly vibrant bass playing more than made up for it – supplemented by the fact that the bassist had a hard time standing still during the show, making it an overall lively experience. Working their way through post-punk inspired synth pop, Mini Mansion portrayed a knack for occasionally airy, but otherwise forceful soundscapes which made the most of their deliberately sparse sonic setups. Much of the charm came from the far-from-perfect vocal harmonies that hovered semi-awkwardly on top of the pristine soundscape. These imperfections added a human element to the sound that, quite frankly, is hard to resist and makes the ‘flaws’ easier to overlook all the same. A track called “Vertigo” seemed to be the highpoint of their set, engaging more than a few of the quite large number of attendees. I just might have to check out some studio material from this band.

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The Raveonettes

The last time I saw The Raveonettes I had a hard time reconciling with the fact that interactions between the band and the crowd were less than scarce and the fact that their affinity for reverb-drenched noise often had a tendency to drown out their delicate and soft vocal work. However, as the band opened their set with “Endless Sleeper” I was instantly taken aback by the presence emitted from the stage. They still looked like The Raveonettes, they sounded like them too but somehow they seemed far more approachable and, well, energetic. It correlated nicely with the vibe mostly emitted from the tracks off “Pe’ahi” – their approach to songwriting has changed a bit, so it makes sense that they would also carry this into their live performances. Propelled forward by far too dominating backing tracks, “Killer in the Streets” struck a familiar chord with most of the crowd judging by their reactions and, as such, delivered far more at this point of the set than I have previously seen The Raveonettes do. Supported either by immensely fast strobe lights or single color backgrounds, The Raveonettes still seemed to emit an air of minimalism through the shroud of reverb-drenched, backing track supported noise-rock for which they are known. Launching into a more than welcome combo of “Love in a Trashcan” and “Attack of the Ghost Riders”, The Raveonettes steadily began winning over those small portions of the crowd that were not yet entirely convinced – myself included, and as such ventured into the parts of their back-catalogue of which I am slightly more familiar.

For some, however, the obvious highlight of the evening had to be the infamous “The Christmas Song” which appeared early on in the set, backed by some very beautiful, almost entrancing lights. It makes sense that The Raveonettes would play “The Christmas Song” during a gig in December, but it still seemed like most people hadn’t really expected them to – thus making the track a joyous surprise for the most part. As the set eventually reached its inevitable end, Sune Wagner and Sharin Foo dropped their instruments to sing the final song of the main set, “When Night is Almost Done”, in a version only backed by a low-key backing track – having their soft-spoken voices ring out that more clearly to audience before they left the stage prior to the encores. Returning then, to perform three more tracks the applause thundered through the hall of Store Vega – to a greater extent than I had initially expected, making it clear that this particular crowd was really into The Raveonettes and their performance on this – which was eventually further confirmed by many of the crowd members’ naïve belief that The Raveonettes would return once more after having finished their final song of the night, “Aly, Walk With Me”, leaving them somewhat disappointed while others seemed more than content with the night’s proceedings. I guess I’ll never fully get to the same place where many of the crowd-members of the night resided, but my appreciation of The Raveonettes as a live act did increase exponentially.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Endless Sleeper
  • 2. Sisters
  • 3. Killer in the Streets
  • 4. Wake Me Up
  • 5. Hallucinations
  • 6. Dead Sound
  • 7. Black/White
  • 8. The Christmas Song
  • 9. Break Up Girls
  • 10. Gone Forever
  • 11. Love in a Trashcan
  • 12. Attack of the Ghost Riders
  • 13. My Tornado
  • 14. Summer Ends
  • 15. When Night is Almost Done
  • --Encore--
  • 16. Recharge & Revolt
  • 17. Kill!
  • 18. Aly, Walk with Me

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