Monday, March 17, 2008

Spin Cycle: An Afternoon With The Raveonettes and Vampire Weekend

Choosing to make good use of our status symbol invite-only SPIN party badges, we headed to Stubb’s to catch Ben Jelen’s hyper electric fiddling as he wrapped a sweat-soaked set. It was hot and the incessant axe swinging of The Whigs made things feel hotter. Folks had been buzzing about the Atlanta, GA band, but musically it was hard to differentiate song from song or chorus from melody. They may have just taken turns playing expert guitar solos, I’m not really sure.

The band I was really here to see was The Raveonettes – those formerly Danish hipsters whose “Lust Lust Lust” disc I’d been spinning quite frequently. The two front members each wore big ‘80s era sunglasses and Sharin Foo donned perfect classy old-school hipster garb with her high-necked red blouse and fitted black skirt. “Hallucinations” was a definite standout, while the danceable “You Want The Candy” was a solidified hit. The band chose to end on a more somber not with the ethereal “Aly, Walk With Me,” and may have been better served by slotting “You Want The Candy” in here.

The so-called “it” band that people were packing in to see though was the collegiate quartet Vampire Weekend. The former Ivy Leaguers had made a couple of appearances in SF in early February and subsequently sold out their late March shows. Their brand of upbeat melodies often sound like something you’d hear on a funky carousel, and while “A-Punk” is a solid track and a worthy single, one can’t help but wish there was a little more to get excited about. Of course, for a band that’s already played SNL and landed the cover of SPIN while still in its infancy, they must be doing something right. Even if that something is marketing.

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