The Raveonettes / The Black Angels The Phoenix, Toronto, ON October 22
Published Oct 23, 2009This was something of a dream double bill for lovers of both psychedelia and garage rock, so no surprise to see a virtually full house. Openers the Black Angels were deservedly well-received, delivering a set that neatly captured the sonic power of their two albums, Passover and Directions to See a Ghost. Songs from the former, such as "Black Grease" and "Manipulation," especially impressed. The latter album has something of a Joy Division-vibe, though the band's general style is of droning psychedelia meets stoner rock. The show made the worthy comparison points to Black Mountain, Spiritualized, and the Black Angels' Texan forebears, the 13th Floor Elevators, whose Roky Erickson recently enlisted the Angels to serve as his backing band.
Many in a crowd clearly pumped for the Raveonettes were initially disappointed in the muddy sound mix, something that reportedly also occurred at their Montreal gig the night before. Given the contrasting tender and tough dynamics of the Raveonettes' style, any flattening of the sound robs them of their potency. Mercifully, things improved about a third of the way in, and the band's strengths took hold.
Initially viewed as Jesus and Mary Chain clones, they have incorporated enough other influences ('60s girl pop, for instance) to keep things interesting. The dual vocals of guitarist Sune Rose Wagner and bassist Sharin Foo interconnect effectively, while Wagner's fluent and oft feedback-drenched guitar is another key asset.
The nicely balanced set list drew upon all four Raveonettes albums, with early favourites like "Love in a Trash Can" and "Aly, Walk with Me" being warmly received. The much-discussed new song "Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)" set angry lyrics to a sweet melody, "D.R.U.G.S." was super catchy, and their encore of "Last Dance" - the first single off the new In & Out of Control album - went down exceptionally well.
The fact that the band are coming up with such strong material certainly augurs well for their future, while their polite and pleasant stage manner will help bring their fans back for more.