The Raveonettes

support Schultz And Forever + So-so Echo
author BV date 15/03/13 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

On this particular Friday night I had already begun preparing for both a fantastic experience, as well as horrendous one. Why, you might ask? Well, on many previous occasions I have heard riveting tales of grandiose live performances by the not-so-lively performers in The Raveonettes and as such I simply had to see (and hear) what the fuss was actually about. Several days before the show however, the not so fantastic experiences from avid Raveonettes fans began to emerge and as such, I was starting to realize that this concert, like many other concerts could actually go both ways, or actually three ways – it could be great, it could be horrendous or it could just be an average experience. With mixed expectations and a slight sense of curiosity I enter Vega.

All photos by Peter Troest

Schultz And forever

The first support act of the night came in the form of the somewhat hyped singer/songwriter Schultz And Forever. Prior to the concert, I had checked out his recently released EP “Céline” and as it turns out, I liked it quite a bit. But the exact moment the young lad took the stage, I got an unnerving feeling I couldn’t shake that this would be troublesome in one way or another. Luckily, I have no negative fingers to point at the performance as such – Schultz And Forever delivered a steady set of relatively catchy acoustic melodies, supplemented by his relatively hoarse and slightly Dylan-esque voice. I took a relative liking to the obviously shy performer, and at points I got tremendously agitated at the fact that the entire venue seemed to be focusing more on discussing their plans for the weekend, than actually giving the performer in question a chance to actually perform for them. After his steady, yet somehow tremendously anonymous 30 minute set, Schultz And Forever left the stage without many concert goers actually noticing – or at least caring, which is really a pity. Maybe a singer/songwriter (even a good one like this) is the wrong choice for such a large venue where the crowd is eagerly awaiting the noisy pop-rock of The Raveonettes.

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So-so Echo

The second support act of the night came in the form of So-so Echo. So-so Echo is the essence of the word rookies, as this performance marked the second time they had ever performed live. As such, their slightly floating electro-pop was delivered with the same nervous performance that had previously haunted Schultz And Forever. This time around though, So-so Echo seemed to be far better at actually demanding attention from the crowd - this was in part because of the far larger, more demanding soundscape – but also because of the fact that So-so Echo actually performed. There was movement on the stage, and they even tried to interact with the crowd. So-so Echo’s music however, didn’t grasp my attention for sustained periods of time. There were many glimpses of good melodies and beautiful sounds, but the overall expression and the coherence didn’t play into my personal preferences. Nonetheless, they did seem to catch the rest of the audience, which is certainly commendable since the audience had previously been caught up by the riveting debates and major philosophical questions of the weekend plans. So while Schultz And Forever spoke much more to me musically, So-so Echo possessed something he didn’t – an attention demanding presence. Something that is quite necessary for performing live at larger venues like Vega, and since this performance was only their second I dare say that they might become far better at interacting with the audience. So despite the fact that I don’t really care for their music, they seem to be quite interesting to the crowd in general.

The Raveonettes

Finally, after two support bands The Raveonettes enter the stage at 22:45 exactly and the audience is immediately attacked by the walls of reverb-drenched sonic mayhem that The Raveonettes seem to specialize in delivering. Prior to this gig, I had read an interview with The Raveonettes wherein they stated that they would ‘challenge’ the audience with their setlists for the Danish gigs. As time progressed through the set, this quickly proved to be true, as many of the not-so-die-hard Raveonettes spectators seemed to yearn for the hits, like “Love In A Trashcan”, “She Owns The Streets” and others of their kind. The Raveonettes didn’t cave in though; they continued their sonic onslaught with bits and pieces of their lesser known material which is far from what the mainstream has come to connect them with. Despite the fact that this was all very interesting, the walls of noise soon became a little too much and the persistent use of backingtracks to supplement the soundscape in turn became far too dominating. While the noisier specter of The Raveonettes back-catalogue is certainly powerful, the walls of distortion and reverb have a massive tendency to drown out the far too soft vocals of Sune Wagner and Sharin Foo, and as such I feel like I am lacking the complete experience – the audience is getting all the distortion, but none of the melody. – A true pity.

Redemption was soon offered to the not-so-die-hard fans of the crowd though, as The Raveonettes progressed into the far more ‘gentle-sounding’ “Sleepwalking” which is basically the essence of the radio-friendly part of The Raveonettes’ songwriting. “Sleepwalking” contained some of what I personally felt was missing – the melody. And because of that, the far more friendly sounding “Sleepwalking” was exactly the kind of thing needed to get the crowd going again, after nearly 40 minutes of brutal reverb-drenched sonic mayhem. While The Raveonettes are far from energetic on stage, one would still assume that they would at least interact with the audience a bit more than with the occasional ‘thank you’ or ‘great to be here’ phrases. But no, throughout their 80 minute set The Raveonettes pummeled through their material as if they were pushing their way forward on a battlefield – few pauses, no unnecessary chatter and no unnecessary movements.

Despite the lack of showmanship from the stage though, The Raveonettes seemed to pull it off and many concertgoers would probably describe this experience as “adventurous but successful”. Personally though, I would describe it as adventurous and somewhat interesting – but nothing special.

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