Both the album and live show opens with their current signature track “Endless Sleeper.”
After some initial dramatic orchestral music as a lead in, the quick jazzy drumbeat that pays intentional homage to The Doors own leadoff track “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” off of that classic bands influential 1967 debut album is soon heard.
Fuzzy bass, shuffling percussion and deep twang guitar figures alternate between dense layers and open spaces. Lyrically, its one part songwriter Sune Rose Wagner recapping a near death experience from drowning while surfing a number of years back. However, a sense of frustration and anger emerges with imagery about wanting to “crack all the mirrors” and how “you shy away from everything – you shy away from me.”
An accompanying video starts out in long shot form, immediately establishing a filmmakers touch from director Sune Rose Wagner. In the distance a naked couple is spotted in what initially appears to be lovemaking. As the camera moves in it is revealed to be two women, and the initially perceived tenderness suddenly morphs into a struggle. They become engaged in a switchblade knife fight, where one is severely wounded. Closeups of blood dripping from the blade echoes Pe’ahi’s imagery and overall theme. Sudden bursts of quick flashing pulses match the tracks violent sonic outbursts, which in turn perfectly underscore appearances of tranquility abruptly exploding into violence.
The second live song played (which symmetrically is the second album track) “Sisters” features a dominant cathedral choir floating over top of brutally harsh guitar textures, while percussion shuffles forward in patterns originally designed for early-era hip hop. A celestial harp soon emerges, as everything else drops out. It is a serene, angelic and very much momentary reprieve, as the lyrics are delivered within a return to the initial sonic fury.
Combining frenzied guitar destructiveness with ghostly choirs creates a sonic landscape of beautiful mayhem. While lyrics present a cautionary plea encouraging women to overcome the emotional damage of men who leave them broken and alone. The song culminates with a mad guitar solo that has a loose improvisational feel to it.
Three more Peahi tracks are then played, including Sune’s lament on duplicitous relationships (“Killer In The Streets”), a very revealing picture of his father (“Kill”) and the Sharin Foo lead vocal turn (“Wake Me Up”) before the band dipped back into their vast catalog of prior album material.
More detailed commentary on the overall concert experience and wonderful new songs (the deep cuts that end the new record and share a similar placement in the live show) follow with the second nights coverage.
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My diligent attention to and adoration of all things Raveonettes for over a decade once again allowed for access that is never taken for granted, but always appreciated.
Helping to assist other long-time fans achieve a dream of meeting an idol backstage.
Supporting The Raveonettes on this leg of the tour was the perfect complimentary act Coves
Their songs are instantly likeable and lead vocalist Beck Wood is a captivating presence.
Guitarist John Ridgard plays a semi hollow-body electric which gives him a William Reid/Jesus and Mary Chain-like sound at times.
Beck hits all the right marks, as an attractive and friendly frontperson with a great voice and songs to match.
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The following night, Tuesday, September 30 - it was back at it again. The second of their two night stay in Brooklyn. Already pumped up from the first show, I invited my semi-regular concert-buddy drid to join me this time.
The band once again put on a mesmerizing show.
Sharin was in particularly good form this evening, and her change of attire gave some visible proof this was indeed another show (as both Sune and drummer Adrian wore identical clothing as the night before).
Throughout the set, Sune would occasionally put down the guitar and sing "lead singer" style, creating some compelling imagery.
Moved up in the set (after a middle placement earlier in the tour) came the marvelous "Z-Boys." Sune’s loving homage to the skate/surf Zephyr team of Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams. Having revolutionized that culture “flashing the future in everybody’s face," their story initially told in This Film
Here live, Sharin most capably covered the choir/layered voices of the recording with her backing vocals. The central ambient interlude of this innovative composition takes the listener on a magical mystery trip to a strange and wonderful decaying world from decades ago.
Deeper tracks like “A Hell Below” were also featured in the set. Embedded within this sweet pop melody are cautionary lyrics of a personally destructive path. “Why don’t we stroll to the cemetery to remind you where you’ll end up” if one continues this way.
Flipping the last two Peahi tracks to end the show (before encores of “Recharge and Revolt” and perennial show closer “Aly, Walk With Me”) was “Summer Ends” and “When Night Is Almost Done.”
It was great to see Sharin playing bass on a song or two as well. After the show she told me she preferred playing bass over all other instruments.
An even more emotionally raw reveal about his father’s passing than “Kill,” “Summer Ends” finds Sune coming to grips with the dark legacy he’s inherited. Can the reflection in that “mirror mirror on the wall” be changed?
One of the most dramatic moments of the show comes when Sune and Sharin put down their instruments altogether and sing acapella to the hauntingly beautiful Emily Dickinson inspired "When Night Is Almost Done."
The setlist (minus encores)
This amazing concert can be experienced in its entirety thanks to some great people who captured it all a few days earlier. Check it out right here:
Well worth the hour and fifteen minutes spent.
For this second night, the powers-that-be at MHOW issued wristbands (as opposed to the VIP sticker badge) for backstage access. During my conversation with Sharin Foo she gave me one of her bass guitar pics. Looks good next to the ticket and its the kind of thing comes unexpected and happens randomly.
One of my best conversations with her yet!
Once again the marvelous Coves opened the show and blew the audience away.
It's uncanny how many opening acts for The Ravonettes I've become permanent fans of over the years.
Overall both bands kept the merch simpler and more streamlined. I bought Peahi on CD and immediately gave it to someone as a gift. I saw a lot of people buying those black Raveonettes hats and of course t-shirts. Everybody needs a new shirt and hat every now and then!
For further album and live show reviews/recaps of The Raveonettes, see here:
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