Published May 15, 2011Given the Raveonettes' penchant for ghoulishly depressing lyrics and speaker-melting guitar fuzz, it's safe to say that they aren't a party band. Still, this didn't stop a few hundred Vancouverites from starting off their Saturday night with an early show from the Danish duo, who stopped by Venue in support of their latest LP, Raven in the Grave.
The outfit began with "Recharge & Revolt," which was bolstered by a drum loop that sent vibrations through the floor of the room. On this opening number, singer Sune Rose Wagner handed over guitar duties to two multi-instrumentalist sidemen, leaving the Dane free to take swigs from a toxic-looking drink that was almost exactly the same colour as the red lights that bathed the stage.
Things got increasingly menacing from there, as the group segued into "War in Heaven," which contained an atonal, distortion-soaked bridge. On "Dead Sound," Wagner and fellow Raveonette Sharin Foo sung in tight two-part harmony while the backing musicians pounded out a synchronized beat on two standup drum kits.
The band didn't say much aside from the odd "thank you," and they were often scarcely visible thanks to the dramatic back lighting and blinding strobes. They made up for the lack of showmanship with sheer volume, cranking their amps to near-deafening levels. Wagner's guitar lines were drenched in reverb and delay, and he conjured up white-hot fuzz during the pulse-racing standouts "Ignite" and "Aly, Walk with Me."
Dark and gloomy as the set was, this didn't seem to put a damper on the Saturday night crowd. One woman near the bar threw up wildly inappropriate devil horns during the seething "Lust," while another concertgoer blissfully sock-hopped throughout every song. This was perhaps not what the mascara-daubed duo intended, but they nevertheless seemed grateful as the smiling crowd hailed them with cheers for a job well done.