On Saturday, I caught a couple of bands I'd never seen before when Melody's Echo Chamber (Melody Prochet and associates) opened for the Raveonettes at Neumos. My friend and I got there a little late due to the Genius Awards beforehand. Plus, I also stopped off at home for a few minutes—it was on the way—and then we ran into a mutual friend outside the venue. I assumed he was there for the same show, but he was actually just leaving Barboza after a set from Curtains for You. Once I realized he wouldn't be joining us, we entered the club to find that Melody's Echo Chamber had already started. I don't think we missed much, though, since she played most every track off her new, self-titled album.
Slight Jennifer Herrema resemblance
If you're a French musician, and you aren't half-bad looking—hell, even if you're all the way bad looking—casting directors will find you. The list of musician-turned-actors is long and varied, and includes Charles Aznavour (Shoot the Piano Player), Serge Gainsbourg (also a composer and director, usually in some combination with Jane Birkin), hot couple Johnny Hallyday and Sylvie Vartan, and Benjamin Biolay (husband of actress Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve). I mention this, because it's only a matter of time before Prochet ends up in a film. In person, she's just as attractive as she is in pictures—and her voice is equally attractive. Here's hoping Alain Resnais makes another musical, like 1997's Same Old Song, and gives her a role.
Jerome Pichon, Prochet, and Myra Lee (not pictured: Pablo Moodoïd on bass)
Prochet performed in socks; her rhythm guitar player performed sans shoes. Tame Impala guitarist Kevin Parker, who worked on her record, is known to control his extensive array of effects pedals using bare feet. Coincidence...or conspiracy?
In any case, Prochet and band were very good, and it was fun to watch her dance around, although she really needs to invest in some new lingerie as she kept adjusting her bra strap every few minutes (I've been there; it's irritating). Her touring line-up eschews drums, relying on programmed beats instead, and it gave her music more of a dance- or synth-pop sound, like Stereolab by way of Deee-lite, for lack of a better comparison. On record: psych-pop rules the day.
Unfortunately, she experienced technical problems during "Crystallized," with which she ended her set. I saw her motioning to someone a couple of times. At first, I thought it was her bass player, but I think she was trying to catch the sound man's attention (one or two instruments appeared to have lost amplification).
But it was too little, too late. Instead of getting louder, the song got quieter until it came to an anticlimactic end, which is too bad as that should've been the showstopper. Here's hoping Melody's Echo Chamber returns in the not-too-distant future, so they get another chance to show Seattle what they can do.
Pichon on "space guitar"
French men. [sigh] In person, Pichon doesn't look so much like John Mayer.
Sune Rose Wagner, Sharin Foo, a drummer, and a lot of dry ice
Sometimes I attend shows for the headliner, sometimes for the headliner and the opening act; less frequently for the opener alone, but in this case, I was only interested in the latter. I can think of a few other examples: Joanna Newsom and Sufjan Stevens, M.I.A. and LCD Soundsystem, and Annie and Röyksopp (both from Norway; the Raveonettes hail from Denmark). In all instances, except one, I'm glad I stayed for the main event—especially LCD Soundsystem. A few songs into Röyksopp's set, however, my friends and I looked at each other and knew that leaving the Showbox would be the only cure for our boredom.
Wagner's rig included six guitars
It only made sense to check out the Raveonettes while we were at Neumos, even if I've never really paid much attention to the Danish duo before (and I don't think my friend had even heard of them). I like what I've heard on the radio, but not quite enough to pick up any of their six full-lengths. If it wasn't to my taste, I knew we could always leave early, but they were pretty good, so we stayed until the end, which included one encore, although the audience clamored for more.
But they were finished for the night, which worked well for me, because I got home at the reasonable hour of 12:30am, and still had time to work on reviews. If I was a bigger fan, though, I might've been disappointed that they only played one more song—which I didn't recognize—before exiting the stage (by contrast, Redd Kross's recent encore at Chop Suey almost felt like an additional set).
The "old stuff" ("That Great Love Sound," "Aly, Walk with Me," etc.) worked best
I wouldn't say I've changed my mind about the Raveonettes, but I had a good time. My friend, who opted for the Swans over Redd Kross, was less enthused, but his ticket cost exactly zero dollars, so he knew better than to complain too loudly, saying something about how he used to be into the Jesus and Mary Chain back in the day, but that sound doesn't thrill him so much anymore.
Props for Wagner's cat head t-shirt
The Raveonettes' new album, Observator, is out now on Vice. They perform live on KEXP this Tues, Sept 25, at 12pm; their fall tour continues through Oct 12.