THE RAVEONETTES with Stellastarr* at Lee's Palace, September 13. Tickets: $13.50 Attendance: 300. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
In the last year, Denmark's the Raveonettes have defined all that is cool in music. By combining the Cramps and the Jesus & Mary Chain with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, they've come up with one fucked-up wall of sound. Soaring modal harmonies over screaming feedback chaos confront genius melodies Brian Wilson would get outta bed for.
Their take on good American music may only be rivalled by the White Stripes, but it's appreciated more by outsiders like us, who always seem to have a better idea of what Americana is about than actual Americans.
Guitarist and singer Sune Rose Wagner 's frail and humble appearance seemed barely energized by the welcoming crowd. Even his cigarette appeared to be a heavy load.
It's not until the music begins that you realize his guitar is an integral part of his being, and when it's cranked up he can barely stand still.
Singer and bassist Sharin Foo commands attention with her 6-foot stature and blond hair, as close to our generation's Nico as we're likely to get. That she never ventures more than a foot from her microphone only adds to the Raveonettes' allure.
Playing songs from their debut breakthrough, Whip It On, and their latest, Chain Gang Of Love, the band treated the crowd to a super-tight set of three-minute wailing symphonies about sex and prostitution that only a band from Copenhagen could sing.
Either paying homage to Bobby Gillespie, or suffering from hemorrhoids, drummer Jakob Hoyer proceeded to stand all night while slapping the skins so flawlessly that Wagner and Foo oughta think about ditching the drum machine for good.
Second guitarist Manoj Ramdas locked onto Wagner throughout, adding a sexual distortion fest to a shtick that recalls Hendrix and a young Pete Townshend.
After an hour, the beauty and the chaos ended. An appreciative if not too boisterous crowd was treated to a three-song encore that climaxed with a ferocious version of their excellent Beat City.
The Raveonettes are obviously ready for rock royalty status.
Competition, however, is fierce. Openers stellastarr* 's New York hipster take on new wave punk made them look like a young band on the move. They gave the crowd a blast of what the future has in store, and lead singer Shawn Christensen seems poised to end the current reign of fellow New Yorker Julian Casablancas of the Strokes and the White Stripes' Jack White.