The Raincoats


With the White Hotel largely full to capacity, it appears appropriate the Raincoats would perform their debut LP in its entirety 10 years after its 30th anniversary. If I abided by convention, I would proceed to ramble on about their supposed importance and point out the vague connections they have to certain dead musicians for the sake of padding out the word count and giving the more unaccustomed of readers context for what is more or less a cult act; Spotify and/or Wikipedia will enlighten in my stead. Technical problems add to a rather awkward start, certain members coming across a little out of practice both instrumentally and vocally; however this dissipates with time as they track by track practically endear the audience to their stage candour and jokes about former member’s second generation descendants.

With the band far past its heyday, the obvious assumption would be that the performers have regressed; to be out of touch and clinging onto a youth long gone, in turn metaphorically yanking the paper currency from the retrospective younglings gathered as they stare distracted with disappointment; yet fortunately for both the observer and observed this possible projection hasn’t occurred as the Raincoats’ style, with their punk-inspired quasi-folk leanings, and relatable subject matter has aged remarkably well in comparison to the slobbering three-chord (no disrespect) machismo of punk and NWOBHM ubiquitous in the late 70s.

Their signature of harmonies and the intrusive nature of the violinist (a good thing), alongside the un-pretension of the bass, drum and guitar as they run through favourites like their cover of The Kinks’ ‘Lola’ (adds a new dimension to the subject matter) and ‘Off Duty Trip’ ensure that even when standing on a potentially hazardous gradient slight in depth, you can still very much enjoy the wheezing of the accordion-like-yet-not-so violin as nonchalant gasps of ‘The Void’ continue to highlight that this band is pretty much a more laid back, less belligerent version of The Slits (ill-informed comparison I suspect).

Since the LP being performed is only 35 minutes in length, naturally the setlist evolves into cuts I’m not as familiar with (Odyshape, etc), although in terms of performance they are at their most cohesive and resonate; the electronic elements and lyrical ventures into social commentary intrigue me to the point that I’ll be digging around my gig notes for weeks to come. At my friend’s suggestion, I open the umbrella I didn’t even need for a day conveniently devoid of precipitation above the audience and attract bewildered looks; they may have thought that I thought (intentional repetition) it tied in with the name of band in some symbolic, bestowing an artefact on a deity kind of way… or perhaps they thought I was a complete cretin for following the advice of someone who wouldn’t have reaped the possible repercussions of the mini-spectacle that is opening and subsequently attempting to close an umbrella (at least a metre in size) in a crowded, post-industrial establishment… social analytics aside, I’m glad I went to the gig although regret missing the Early Mornings (I’ll get you next time!).

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Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.