Live Report: The Raveonettes – O2 Academy Islington, London

Timeless rock 'n' roll...

Attempting to foresee the lasting influence of indie noise-rockers The Raveonettes was tricky, when they first emerged on the international scene in 2003. What was clear, however, was that something special was on display, and twenty years on, the music industry and their fanbase continue to talk about them. 

Dressed in select, black outfits, they coupled melodic garage-rock anthems with a carefully crafted image. It represented an optimally cool recipe for success in music, yet it always seemed as if there was more to the Danish duo’s success than that. 

The brainchild of writer and producer Sune Rose Wagner and singer and bassist Sharin Foo, the Phil Spector influenced songs facilitated a compelling way to revisit the ‘60s, it did so through a modern lens, as music seemed to generally lean in a more techy, synthetic direction. 

Befittingly, Islington’s O2 Academy venue is packed to bursting point this evening. It’s an atmosphere of excitement, a vibe of a night that allows old friends to catch up, and for Danes, Brits and those that travelled from places further afield, to reconnect. It is an upbeat, happy encounter. 

Met by a cheering crowd, accompanied by drummer Jakob Hoyer and guitarist Manoj Ramdas, Wagner and Foo take the stage. With a setlist that first and foremost is curated to celebrate twenty years of ‘Whip It On’, the added benefit of enjoyment comes from title song ‘Chain Gang Of Love’. 

The delivery of electrifying live shows facilitated in a supreme space of melody and noise remains a Raveonettes strength, as is the harmonisation of Foo and Wagner’s vocals, they just meld and work together. The interaction of jangly guitar sounds and instinctive drum beats greatly reinforces the band’s raison d’etre, why they are held in high esteem. 

Kicking off with ‘Attack Of the Ghost Riders’, the track outlines the aim of their London visit. Dark, ultra-tight and seductive, it’s a dynamic opener that casts a fascinating spell on the audience. It’s a suitable reception, and one that is closely followed by ‘Veronica Forever’ where industrial, more Jesus and Mary Chain aligned sonics are invited to take over the room. 

With a number of highlights, the tightly paced ‘Cops On Our Tail’, ‘My Tornado’, the euphoria of ‘The Great Love Sound’, and the uplifting ‘Dead Sound’ stand out. As noisy hymns vastly fill up the room, it only makes sense to become fully immersed with events as they unfold, and the Danes’ music fulfils that purpose, entirely. The set lasts just over an hour, which is enough time, and the duration seems just right. 

An invigorated live performance, if an explanation is required, this show is a strong reminder of why The Raveonettes’ timeless rock ‘n’ roll continues to matter, and as the band enter their third decade in music, their renewed relevance is more than worth noting.   

Words: Susan Hansen
Photography: Rachel Lipsitz

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