Live Review by Mary Boukouvalas
Riff Random, The Raveonettes
The Hifi Bar, Melbourne, Australia
Wednesday 1st March 2006
Danish band, The Raveonettes, requested Melbourne’s Riff Random to support them on their first tour down under.
Riff Random played tighter than I’ve seen them in a long time and their distinctive blend of psychedelia and garage-rock was impressive. Their set included songs from their EP, Low is High, as well as from their eagerly awaited debut album, In Space There Is No Sound. Guitarist vocalist, Raph Brous, dedicated Let Yourself Go to everyone, and then bombarded the Hifi with ’60s pop interspersed with distorted guitars, gruff vocals and manic wails. Ever the gentleman, Brous thanked Renee from Chugg Entertainment and invited audience participation for their Primal Scream meets MC5 finale, Shut Up and Dance. A good choice for support, a great band in their own right.
The Raveonettes, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, are renowned for saturating their stripped-down songs about sex, suicide, and prostitution with loud, fuzzed-out guitars, sweet harmonies, and sleazy surf twang. Through their set ranging from songs from their EP: Whip It On, their album debut: Chain Gang Of Love, and their dynamic latest release: Pretty In Black, they did not disappoint. Clearly The Raveonettes love of the 50s retro, not only with the creation of their name, which is a hybrid of Buddy Holly’s Rave On and the Phil Spector produced girl group, The Ronettes, but also with their pure retro-cool appearance and demeanour. Dressed in stylish black, ultra-cool Wagner and statuesque Foo even opened up with a cover of Buddy Holly’s Everyday. Their ethereal voices interspersed with distorted guitars truly making it their own. The guitar sound very reminiscent of The Jesus & Mary Chain, especially in Heartbreak Stroll and That Great Love Sound.
Highlights were Love In A Trashcan, which made the whole Hifi Bar shimmy in time, and Little Animal, which was textured poetry in motion. As Wagner sang (and the Hifi audience chanted) about a girl who won’t leave him alone –My girl is a little animal, She always wants to fuck, Can’t find a reason why, I guess it’s just my luck – Foo plays the melody from Little Peggy March’s I Will Follow Him. An awesome moment.
However, they didn’t play Here Comes Mary, but they were jetlagged. Apparently so were their guitars –or so Foo stated apologetically- but there was no need. Their set, though at times lacklustre (maybe due to the continuous B-flat minor) rocked!
The melodic harmonies in If I Was Young were delicate and sweet, as was Railroad Tracks –introduced as a song we’d probably not know as it a kind of secret song. In contrast, the noisy, distorted guitar and sleazy surf-punk twang were intense, especially in Attack, Let’s Rave On, Sleepwalkin’ and Red Tan. Ending with an encore of a song about deserts: Texas, and a song that should have been on Whip It Up: Evil LA girls, The Raveonettes left Melbourne audience in awe –even though Foo was surprise anyone had even turned up at all!