About The Raincoats
“Within a minute, they seem to have trashed every female stereotype in rock and roll… I was amazed” – Greil Marcus, ‘Rolling Stone’ 1980.
The Raincoats, seminal post-punk band, ‘godmothers of grunge’ and inspiration to a generation of riot grrrls, are celebrating over three decades of breaking rules and doing things the way they think they should be done with a film that maps the band from its formation in the late 1970s when Gina Birch met Ana da Silva, and their journey to becoming one of the most important underground bands Britain has ever produced. Made up of rare archive footage, much of it unseen, and a series of new interviews with people who knew the band in the late seventies as well as artists and musicians who have been affected or inspired by their work, The Raincoats, Fairytales – A Work in Progress documents how Ana and Gina, along with their manager Shirley O’Loughlin and the various musicians who flowed in and out of the band’s many formations, created a sound that, while inspired by punk and rock music that had come before, was uniquely and uncompromisingly powerful and female, and which has held a fascination over all those lucky enough to have stumbled across it. The famous story is of course that of Kurt Cobain travelling to the Rough Trade shop in Talbot Road in 1992 in an attempt to replace his worn out copy of The Raincoats LP, a trip that in the end led to reissues of the band’s back catalogue and the offer of a tour with Nirvana that sadly never took place. The Raincoats have always impressed; in 1980 John Lydon announced in Trouser Press, “Rock’n’Roll is shit…music has reached an all-time low – except for The Raincoats.”
The band’s first gig was in November 1977 and by 1978, with a line-up including Palmolive of The Slits and Vicky Aspinall, they were an all-female band. Rough Trade Records released the band’s first single, "Fairytale in the Supermarket"/ "In Love"/ "Adventures Close to Home" in May 1979 and the women went on their first tour. The Raincoats, Odyshape, The Kitchen Tapes and Moving had all been released by 1984 and Ana and Gina turned to solo projects. It wasn’t until 1994 that The Raincoats performed together again on stage, to celebrate the reissues of their albums and since then they have only made rare live appearances, most noteably at Robert Wyatt’s 2001 Meltdown where they performed as the four-piece we will see them as tonight – Ana and Gina are joined by Anne Wood on violin and Jean-Marc Butty on drums.
The Raincoats inspire in their fans a kind of generous enthusiasm and genuine respect that is rare and difficult to explain. Delia of the band Mambo Taxi put it best in the sleeve-notes to the 1993 reissue of Moving, “How do you explain love at first sight? How can I put into words how much I like The Raincoats without falling into a sea of superlatives? … I love them and I don’t care if it’s sycophantic because it’s true.”
- Nazmia Jamal
North America : Michelle Cable @ Panache Booking
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