Skinny Jeans, Guitar Screams: The Raveonettes, Crocodiles @ Bimbo's, 11/9/09

At first, I wasn’t really in the mood for this show.

I had one of those days where every second was filled with second thoughts. Every emotion that took me over were ones I loathe: regret, remorse, guilt, anxiety. These are the kind of days that I prefer to end with some metal, the kind of music that most often inhabits this space.

But instead, I found myself driving to North Beach, a neighborhood I hate, to visit a venue I love for a night of psychedelic noir pop. I gave myself a pep talk on the way there.

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Walking into Bimbo’s sometimes makes me feel like I’m moving from the kiddie table to the adult one. Everyone is sitting at tables in nice clothes drinking drinks in real glasses. I take a seat off to the side of the stage and wait. A glance around reveals a sea of coupled folks deep in conversation. I snarl and whip out the trusty iPhone to keep me company.

I saw Crocodiles play The Rickshaw back in August. They were loud then, but they were even louder tonight. They come out swathed in shadows that really never go away. The guitar pours us into their ocean of sound, and the drums are the waves beating against us for their 30 minute set. The vocals are drowned out, but that’s how it supposed to be. The singer is hopping around on stage when he’s not singing into the mic like he’s kissing it on the cheek. I’m zoned out on the sound, the fact that I probably wear the same size clothes as all of these guys, and that it had only been three months since I last saw them but it felt like so much longer. They look like they’ve had a been-around-the-block few months, as have I. Just as I’m thinking about how mellow the crowd is- a commotion breaks out across the room. An exuberant bouncy guy is upsetting his neighbors by slamming into them. Turns out the band knows him, and fully give him permission to continue his actions, saying, “you can do that anytime….you’re not gonna hurt anybody!”. Perhaps the next time I see Crocodiles, they are going to be telling the crowd to “circle pit!” to ‘Neon Jesus’.

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There was a lengthy break where I did the usual to entertain myself: stared at my iPhone, did some people watching, twiticuled some of the people I was watching (Voss water, loafers, pearls…), played the game ‘find the least objectionable dude in the room’, which marries nicely with the game ‘find the most objectionable guy in the room and prepare a witty line for when he hits on me’, and my personal favorite, ‘tell the inquisitive lady next to me that no, I am not with the band, why do you think that?’.

I’m pretty split on The Raveonettes, I like half of their stuff- the darker, more psychedelic tracks….the others just get too sickly sweet poppy for my taste. They are also really loud live; and paired with their surprisingly strobetastic lighting, it really made me physically feel the set. The lighting actually really caught me off guard- it was precisely timed to change colors with the music, and the strobey parts came on during intense feedback moments, and also changed color.

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The lighting underpinned the feeling that the set was really hypnotic. The dual, monotone vocals of the male and female singers provided the foundation for this. Additionally, the stand up drums and the pounding bass helped created the overwhelming sound.

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The duo emit a subdued sexiness; he- a sort of geek-chic and she- melodic femme-bot. They shyly exchange glances with the crowd between songs, in reaction to the audience’s screams of ‘I love you!’.

It was a nice set. As an outsider looking in, I enjoyed getting lost in this world that belongs to others.

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