Special Electric Duo

Last friday amidst the snowfall I trekked down to Rock & Roll Hotel to catch The Raveonettes. This show was part of their ‘Special Electric Duo’ tour.

I’ve been tracking the Raveonettes since their debut back in 2002. I’ve seen them play a lot since then (on two continents even) and every set has been a delight. Friday night’s included.

The Raveonettes as a band have featured a revolving support line-up over the years ranging from a 3-piece with drum machine to a 4-piece with a live drummer. The two constants have always been Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo; the heart and soul of the group.

Going into the show on friday night I was curious what ‘Special Electric Duo’ would mean exactly. Obviously it would be Sune (guitar) and Sharin (bass) but would there be drums and if not how would they swing it?

The stage set-up was spare. Guitar, bass, two-headed drum. DC didn’t rate the pretty ‘Rave On’ lights other cities on the tour had, mainly due to the band arriving a scant 15 minutes before show-time. Apparently they had spent 14 hours on the Jersey Turnpike due to weather!

So looking a tad tired, Sharin and Sune launched into their set composed of intimate, stripped-down versions of some of their best songs. Gone was all of the production slickness, as well as a lot of the noise. This was a classic rock-n-roll sound. Sune’s guitars had this great hobo twang. Sharin’s bass fuzzed out and thumping. They occasionally took turns on the drum.

The set felt a lot like an electric demos session. Which was cool in a couple of ways. First, we got to hear familiar songs presented in a new way – their vocals sounded much sexier this way. Second, the set was played fast and loose – there wasn’t a very rehearsed feel, this was The Raveonettes au natural. It felt like a glimpse into their song writing process or more accurately what it would be like to have the Raveonettes as friends strumming some tunes at one of your parties.

Song highlights were an incredible rearrangement of ‘Attack of the Ghost Riders’ and an awesome drum-and-bass cover of Sonic Youth’s ‘100%’.

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