It is apt that a band which draws its inspiration from sources as diverse as 50’s rock and roll, 60’s girl-group pop, the Doors, C86 and the searing noise of the Jesus and Mary Chain, should return to these shores at a venue suitably steeped in musical tradition. Born on Chapel Street as All Repairs, it became A1 Music, followed by Academy of Sound and later Sound Control. During the nineties A1 was ‘the’ place to buy your guitar in Manchester. Frequented by Johnny Marr, Noel Gallagher, Barny Sumner and Tim Booth the venue played a crucial role in the story of the Stone Roses. Reni joined in 1984 after reading an ad the band had placed in A1 music. Its progression is a fitting one. From the place to fix instruments and then to buy them, is now the place to play them. It opened its doors in January 2010 and quickly established a reputation as one of the best venues in Manchester, in no small part down to the Alcons sound rig and the acoustic of the live rooms.
After the tumultuous year Sune Rose Wagner has had it is both a joy and a relief to see the band at all, let alone in such fine form. Having ‘thrown out his back’ and being diagnosed with clinical depression I expected Sune to be trussed up like a festive ham, but defiantly he took to the stage in nothing more than an ill-fitting t-shirt and that eponymous baseball cap. From the opening chords of Hallucinations you could sense the crowd sway backwards, as if buffeted by the air the reverb drenched guitars displaced. But if ever there was a night to ‘lean into’, this was it. Shifting from the melodic, sensuous dream-pop of The Enemy from latest album Observator to the fuzz-guitar noise of Dead Sound or the aggressive energy of Blush, the band drew songs from their complete back catalogue. In amongst the songs from Observator that Sune describes as ‘sumptuous and beautiful in sound, sad and bleak at its heart’ were several from Lust, Lust, Lust (see above), Gone Forever from In and Out of Control and even Apparitions from his least favourite album, Ravens in the Grave.
And to finish, a fabulous trio from Whip It On, first EP/album all of 10 years ago. After the frantic Attack of the Ghost Riders and My Tornado came the cool surf guitar and darkness of Bowels of the Beast. They finished with a bone shuddering Aly, Walk with Me. The Raveonettes seem fresher and more interesting than ever.