Last Night: The Raveonettes at the Detroit Bar
Better Than: breaking Phil Spector out of jail to produce new albums.
How could the Raveonettes top their fuzzy masterpiece album Lust, Lust, Lust? More focus and a little less fuzz. In and Out of Control is aptly named, with eleven songs that span the Raveonettes' sonic spectrum. "Gone Forever" is my favorite tune from their latest album: Its ultra-sticky chorus quickly had my foot tapping.
The Raveonettes promptly fired up the time machine for two tunes--"Do You Believe Her" and "Veronica Fever"--from their debut EP Whip It. Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo strummed their Fender Jazzmasters, drowning the crowd in tidal waves of fuzz and reverb. The layered dual vocals of "Black Satin" could have almost lulled you to sleep, until Sune came charging in with a maelstrom of noise--that just as abruptly dropped out. Vocal harmonies again took the forefront for "Break Up Girls" as Sune and Sharin put down their guitars and focused on their vocals along with clapping assistance from the Detroit Bar patrons. Sharin would later take a turn behind the drum kit for "Heart of Stone" and "D.R.U.G.S" which brought back memories of the days when they toured as a duo.
The solo moments of the evening: Sune performing "Little Animal" by himself, followed by Sharin doing "Oh I Buried You Today." The biggest response of the evening came during "Love In A Trashcan" which is one of their more recognizable songs. "Aly, Walk With Me" ended their main set with another avalanche of feedback. As much as I hoped to have heard "Twilight" close out their set, "Attack of the Ghost Riders" probably destroyed part of my hearing even though I was still wearing earplugs.
Earlier in the evening, the dimly lit red stage provided the backdrop for the Raveonettes' fellow Phil Spector disciples, Crocodiles. I was surprised to see the San Diego group had added a bassist and drummer to the fold: previously, I'd only seen them take the stage as a duo. Charles Rowland eschewed his hollow-body guitar for a Fender Telecaster to give the songs some extra bite. "I Wanna Kill" is a direct homage to the Jesus & Mary Chain, with its watery tremolo guitars and robotic beat, which got the crowd moving a bit.
The night had kicked off with a fresh--and fast--start from a familiar face. It's only been two months since Nine Inch Nails waved goodbye, but their drummer, Ilan Rubin, has already managed to assemble his band the New Regime and play a debut show opening for the Raveonettes. Not too shabby. The straight-up rock vibe of "Order Restored" caught my ear. After shaking off some technical problems, it seemed like they were firing on all cylinders by the time they concluded their set.
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Personal Bias: In And Out of Control is in the running for my favorite album of the year.
Random Detail: I almost didn't make it to the show when my car died. Luckily, somebody picked me up, since the wait was two hours for AAA to tow my car.
By The Way: The Raveonettes will be playing the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on Thursday, the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles on Friday and the Glass House in Pomona on Saturday. You have no excuse to miss them.