Thursday, March 6, 2008

Be Your Own Pet and The Raveonettes Visit The Independent

It's a bit of an odd experience when you go to a show expecting to be blown away by one band, and you walk away feeling like the other band on the bill was really the winner of the show. It's not a bad thing, but it can be disconcerting to feel like your instincts were a bit off base. Such was the case last night when Be Your Own Pet opened for The Raveonettes at the Independent.

Be Your Own Pet (who, apparently, are all teenagers and also Thurston Moore's personal faves) took to the stage with the room surprisingly packed for an opening band. They proceeded to demonstrate why the room was so packed, as they delivered half an hour of blazing, unrepentant rock and roll.

Lead singer Jemina Pearl was an unstoppable ball of energy, flying across the stage and bouncing off of her bandmates at random. For their own part the rest of the band delivered equally enthusiastically, never missing a beat, and responding to Pearl's antics in kind.

Still, it can't be denied that Pearl is the focal point of the show, as it should be with all great lead singers. Her aggressive stances and unrelenting delivery served as the backbone of the band's garagey punk rock mayhem.

And, yes, that's fresh blood on the bass' pickguard.

By stark contrast, when The Raveonettes finally took the stage around 9:30, they delivered a set that seemed to really place them firmly in the category of "one trick pony". Let us be clear: what they do, they do extremely well. The band (accompanied by various samples and the addition of a drummer) delivered a stoic, icy delivery of their "classic" sound. Classic 60's drum beats overlayed with noisy guitars and icy vocals are exactly what we were looking for when we bought our tickets.

The problem arose when the band seemed to deliver the same thing for an hour straight: there was no fluctuation in energy, no change in pace, no discernable indication of any kind that something was (or was not) happening on stage. Moreover, the band's trademark noisy guitars seem ripe for the inducement of live chaos. Instead they seemed restrained and in the background throughout most of the set, only coming forward on "Aly, Walk With Me".

In the end, The Raveonettes delivered a solid, well rehearsed set. The problem we had with it was more that it was too rehearsed. There were no surprise moments, none of the energy we love and expect in a live music experience. I guess in the end, we'll have to stick with their records.

Get more pics of both bands over at the H.A.D. flickr feed.