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The Raveonettes & The Cooper Temple Clause

19 November 2003, Manchester Academy 1

Yet one more outing to see bands before the end of the year... and I had slight motivation problems about getting in the car for the drive. Not just because of the November night factor, but because of Wales' and Scotland's big chances being played out that evening. The road was fairly empty and I imagined it was because of the games. Funny really, because this is England. I made a good choice eh? On the way back home, very late - The Clause did push the official finishing time - I switched on the radio, picked up the sad results and didn't want to hear any more. I carried on, listening to a tape of Ziggy Stardust.

Okay, I'll admit that I went to this for The Raveonettes. I'd seen them twice already this year. Last time, they'd been headline band; now they were support. Rock convention number 16: no support band can have a light show as good as the main band. My main memory of them was of silhouettes against red and green. They got no front lighting at all. I'm sure they could have had it if they'd asked nicely, so I guess they were going even more minimalist. You have to know that having their music on disk is okay, but the real point of The Raveonettes is the ear surgery they perform live. In the big Academy One venue it maybe has less impact, but I was happy to get another dose. Earlier on this tour Sune's voice went and Sharin took over voice duties - and yes, in the middle of all the feedback, the retro pop vocals they specialise in are an important element - but Sune was back on vocals, if a bit shaky. And last night it came over pretty lyrical, certainly more than my first experience of them, when I was dabbing my ears afterwards to check for bleeding.

CTC albumAnd I wanted to find out what The Cooper Temple Clause were all about, apart from the typically silly indie name. I keep noting that some highly respected rock journos rate them as the next really big and interesting band. I have their first album, which I'd hardly played before this gig, and hadn't heard the second at all. Well, I'll be buying it.

It's a long time since I've smelled so much stale beer. A lot of it in aerial motion. Some crowd surfing, lots of arm raising; only one 'horns of rock', I'm pleased to report. Crowds always have a different character don't they, depending on time, place, type of music... here more than for a very long while, I felt like I'd wandered into something tribal. This is a quite different planet, the one of organic music which has little to do with the media's music industry. On this planet, The Clause are big, and getting bigger. The gig had had to be moved from the smaller Academy Two.

Some bands get audiences who just stand and nod their heads; but here, I noticed a lot of dancing, a tiny girl in front of me was doing a very complex little jiggle... and this is one of those bands people know the words to. Yeah, the guy next to me was mouthing to Who Needs Enemies. That was magnificent, along with numbers I already knew like Let's Kill Music and Amber, a personal favourite from the first album.

CTC albumSo, what about the new songs? Well, this is one reason why I want to hear the new album. But you could tell which the new songs were, in the way they've yet to gain their own live identity. I sort of felt they were being overwhelmed by the massive sound. Well, I'm all for volume; this lot aren't quite up to Trail of Dead standards (can't wait for their return to these shores, and I'll be booking my hospital bed for afterwards) but what you get is a huge bass reverb, three sometimes four guitarists, Ben's powerful vocals with plenty of keyboard interlacing, and no one on stage is allowing themselves to go unnoticed. Sometimes it didn't do much for me - one song, Panzer Attack, has nothing to it unless all you want is one-note rage. But overall I was impressed, by the sound, and by some complex and interesting songs. And by some little things, like their easy charisma, Ben's understated rapport with the audience, including clearly telling us what the songs were called... and no encores! Brilliant! I really hate that, it's so phoney (Raveonettes take note, next time you headline).

Blimey this crowd were noisy. There were a couple of quiet points, and I suddenly realised there was a cacophony of chatter all around me. As if all the texting wasn't enough. That was another visual memory, of all the lit up lcd displays on people's mobiles.
So. Back in the car for the drive home, and to wash the lager out of my hair.


The Cooper Temple ClauseThe Cooper Temple Clause official site. It's uncomplicated and up to date. I did look around for some alternative fan sites; they're probably there, but to my surprise I could only find one of any size, no longer being updated - from the look of it, since his course had finished. Or he'd been kicked off it. I guess they're not the kind of band who have website-making fans.

The Raveonettes - 8 May 2003 - 28 Oct 2003 - 13 Mar 2005 - 22 Nov 2007