13 March 2005, Manchester Academy 3
I wanted another fix of The Raveonettes. They're one of the bands I'm addicted to, but it sort of baffles me when I try to figure it out afterwards. I mean, I have their two albums and they're okay but to be honest I don't play them much. Fancy some Danish folk tales? Going to see this band is a date with the Singing Ringing Tree. I'm writing this a day and a half later and there's still some ringing in my ears. I'll bear the sacrifice. When my little nephew says to me, "Uncle, you're too young to be going deaf already!" I'll say, "Ah, but you see, I had to go and see The Raveonettes one more time". The point of The Raveonettes is the live sound, filling the space around you, shared with a crowd. Guitars drums and feedback with retro melodies ghosting bizarrely through the middle.
So what is a "Jim Beam Tour"? Sponsored, yes; lots of mentions of Mr Jim's favourite liquor, yes - and look, I'm doing their job for them, mentioning it again. However, the thing is, is this sort of event any different when you go along? Musically, they claim to be encouraging edgy new music. That's good. Though most of these bands turn up anyway every so often. I noticed a girl driven dj desk which was more interesting than the usual PA soundtrack you get between bands. I should have paid more attention: these were in fact the Queens of Noize, one of the featured acts. I'm not really sure why that is so, as opposed to simply being djs, but I'm sure they're great people. And I did like their records, my sort of taste, ranging back to the late Seventies. But I was wondering about this little boy they had in attendance. How did he get past the licence-conscious gate people? Uncomfortable flashback to that kid in Blues Brothers 2000. Whatever. I missed the other bands as it happens, except for the end of the dogs performance. Not bad, quite punky as the write ups say. I could bear to see them again.
The Raveonettes... And then there were five! Sune, Sharin, the guitarist whose name I never get around to checking, the drummer and now who's this on bass? Which Sharin appears to have given up, though she did pick up a guitar now and then. Centre stage and well lit, an effortless goddess. I was unkindly thinking she didn't seem quite so interested tonight but it's not always so easy distinguishing that from being cool, is it? :) No real complaint because she was very good, in particular about half way through when she grandstanded with what she called a Sixties extravaganza. That was really impressive, in fact the prospect of it being included is a good reason for getting new album Pretty In Black.
Yes, this album is expected to be a bit different. They seem to have freed themselves up quite a bit, from those self imposed rules. Not that they sound anything other than the Raveonettes. More song construction and melody and their lyrical side comes through stronger... though we're still wallowing in the womb of sound, the sort of sound which is taking a break from those echoes of the creation of the universe. I really liked some of the new stuff, from the first song Somewhere in Texas(?) to the last two of the main performance, Sleepwalking and Twilight, which got to be a bit magnificent.
But past favourites were very definitely not forgotten, even if their new treatment was a little different. Little Animal was a bit offhand to be honest. Sharin made a point of telling us that Sune was going to sing for us now... you know, the swearword just seems childish when you've heard the song more than once. Earlier we had That Great Love Sound, and that got a belting performance which went down very well. Merely good was the first encore song, Attack of the Ghost Riders. Still wish they wouldn't do encores though. It's all about atmosphere.
And hair. I have to talk about hair. Sune's hair - what have you done, man? It's got longer, and not in an especially pretty way. It straggles on each side with a sort of Wilbur parting in the middle. I've got to loyally say he's still a cool dude, but it isn't easy. There was another example of uncool hair tonight, in the audience, but it was so extreme you had to say it was impressive. This guy had applied stiffener to his locks so as to resemble the effects of a grenade burst from underneath, like an explosive crown. And he was nodding away to the music which was entertaining. I don't have the hair to do it myself, too bad. Nor can I show you a picture. None of my usual blurry pictures of anything tonight. Shame really, because with the generally strong lighting ('cept for the epileptic bits) they could have been good. But I messed up. I brought a camera, but I'd forgotten to put the memory card back in. Duh.
Was that it then? Will I be able to resist if they come back to Manchester? Probably not. And in a few years time my nephew will want to tell me such interesting things, and I won't be able to hear a word; I will smile indulgently but think to myself, "Young man, when you're old enough to appreciate it, I will tell you all about The Raveonettes".
Okay, if you must, here's the Jim Beam Tour link. If you don't have broadband - good luck!