Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Raveonettes - Peahi + Live in New York

A fevered anticipation had been building ever since The Raveonettes announced tour dates in support of their latest album Peahi. A triumphant return to New York City featured not one, but two nights at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on Monday 9/29 and Tuesday 9/30. Having released Peahi at the end of July, a whirlwind stream of tracks, videos and insightful information has steadily emerged.

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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William said...

Sounds like a great show Croms- glad you had fun and got to catch Coves live! Z boys is my fav new raves song!

The Midnite Rambler said...

Ahhhh disappointed that there was no nearby show in New England but it was really good to read about it and see the photos. I also learned a thing or two and decided upon your comments to look further into Coves. I've been listening to Pe'ahi nearly every day since it came out and it is AWESOME - best album of this years so far easily.

DaveCromwell said...

I was always aware of Dogtown, William - but Sune's embrace of the Zephyr Boys had me digging into it again in from a fresh perspective. Oh, and Coves love you too.

The next best thing to being at one of the shows, Midnite Rambler - is that full concert live recording right there in the blog. I agree that Peahi is loaded with great songs. That's why I focused a bit on the deeper tracks there. said...

This show was absolutely stunning. It hit exhilarating pop high, deep reverberating celebral moments that left me reeling. Their drummer moved seamlessly between his sticks and electronics at his side

DaveCromwell said...

Ah, some insightful points there, drid. Yeah, the drummer (Adrian) - who's been with them for a number of tours now (as far back as the South Street Seaport Pier show we both attended - that I have in the links on the bottom there) has really mastered the combination of acoustic and digital percussion. And you are certainly correct that the highpoints and cerebral moments of this show were absolutely transcendent.

Mirror said...

Margaret Schwartz wrote:

Pretty awesome you were there to relate the epicness to the masses. They already slipped thru DC without notifying me but I'm going to catch that video, and take in Peahi on your recommendation!

DaveCromwell said...

I'm very impressed with the deeper tracks on Peahi. Sometimes you have to see them perform the songs - then go back and listen - and it all comes together.

DC was the final date for the US shows. They really didn't do very many here. They go overseas soon -and that will take them out to the end of the year. Definitely check out that full concert video.

NYCDreamin said...

Nice to see your long-time love of this band and tireless promotion of them has been noticed by the members themselves...that's always kind of gratifying in and of itself...I'm lucky to have that with some people I'm now lucky to call "friend" as well. Enjoy the CBGB festivities, looking forward to your photos and report!

DaveCromwell said...

You know it, Dreamin. There are the bands we've loved for years now and have managed to forge lasting friendships. That kind of continuity doesn't happen all that often it seems - especially these days - in this increasingly fast paced internet and social media driven world. However, as long as The Raveonettes continue to make great new records and continue to tour, I'll be there for all of it.

Unknown said...

Great to see my mates Coves made it over at last, dunno where John got that hat.. a great bill that though, Coves and The Raves ! Superb

DaveCromwell said...

Coves were really great, Andy. I know you've had your own quality experiences with them as well over there on your side of the pond. One of the best double bills I've been to in a long time!

Mirror said...

Kelly Anne / Artist Management at The Orchard wrote:

Thank YOU so much. This is fantastic, an absolute joy to read.

DaveCromwell said...

So great to hear you enjoyed reading this perspective on the music and live show, Kelly.

Thanks again for all your help and attention to detail regarding my participation in it.

The Grim Reefer said...

Long ago you opened my ears to this band & I have enjoyed following their evolution. Their strength, for me, is their ability to expand their aural pallet without losing their core sound/identity. They have a sound that is pastoral, ethereal, and airy, with an ominous undercurrent of pent up energy anger and angst.
Thanks again for this, Dave!

DaveCromwell said...

Your awareness of their "strengths" are spot on, Grim Reefer. As are your descriptions of what makes up the core of their sound. On this album in particular, the "pent up energy anger and angst" is most recognizable in the lyrics and explosive bursts of sonics (between purposely gentle and dreamlike passages).

Mirror said...

Takeshi Kato wrote:

z-boys is my most favorite song in Pe'ahi. and also love the '70s skate scene Zephyr, DOGTOWN, Bones Brigade...

Unknown said...

I could see on vid it was a great show. Love the song in the end, pretty cool. Great band and nice songs. :D

DaveCromwell said...

That whole skate/surf culture is such a fascinating world, Takeshi. Sune captures it with an artists eye. Nelly/Paty that full video concert is such a joy to re-experience. It takes me right back to my own personal show feelings - every time I watch it.

Mirror said...

Like Herding Cats @likeherdincats wrote:

@DaveCromwell @theraveonettes @bowerypresents

what an amazing show it was!

DaveCromwell said...

Dave Cromwell
@likeherdincats @theraveonettes @bowerypresents Ah, you were in the balcony. I think I see myself up front there ;-)

Mirror said...

Like Herding Cats ‏@likeherdincats wrote:

@DaveCromwell @theraveonettes @bowerypresents yeah. The view and sound are prime up there. The sound @ the hall is 2 loud and piercing.

DaveCromwell said...

I actually found the sound to be quite good from up front there at MHOW. One of the things I don't think you can get from a balcony position is the actual *feel* of that deep, rumbling bass. The times when it rattles the floor and pulses right through you. That's a hell of an experience!

Anonymous said...

Nice review

Mirror said...

Sune Rose Wagner wrote:

Hi Dave, really great write up!! I appreciate it and it was great to see you again!!!

Mr Smork said...

they still kicks ass!

DaveCromwell said...

I expect nothing less from this band, Mr. Smork. I've been following them for over 10 years now. Nice to see *the man* there bestowing his approval on my perception of his record and shows. Sharin was very sweet and chatty this go round as well!