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Words and photos by Vice Cooler

Vice Cooler and Gina Birch of the Raincoats in NYC, November 2017

November 13, 2017

It’s been a few days and I still can’t articulate the joy I felt playing drums for The Raincoats this past weekend at the Kitchen in New York. We were celebrating the band and the release of the amazing book The Raincoats, written by Jenn Pelly, about their self-titled LP. This weekend brought out so many old friends who mean the world to me. I was so happy and honored to celebrate The Raincoats and Jenn’s work with them.

Being a random person who grew up in Alabama, I am still processing all of my feelings from this experience. Most of the songs we played were from The Raincoats’ first album, and the drummer who helped write these songs and performed them was there with us. This drummer is Palmolive, a legend and icon. She is one of the most unique and forward-thinking drummers. Since I was a kid, she has always inspired me to be creative and to test the limits of musicianship. Palmolive, like the rest of The Raincoats, has really tapped into an energy that is beyond anything obtained through technical mastery. The Raincoats hadn’t played with Palmolive since 1979 and I was lucky enough to not only share the kit with her for these three nights, but to also experience all three of their performances of “Adventures Close to Home” together, which the band concluded the set with at each show.

On Saturday night, as we played “Fairytale in the Supermarket,” I looked out from behind the drum kit and saw Palmolive. She was dancing and singing beside me. Next to her was Jenn Pelly along with members of Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin, and Bratmobile. Everyone was singing and dancing. I felt overwhelmed by how much joy The Raincoats always bring out in everyone. I remembered how I always experience an incredible exchange of energy when I’m with them. Their approach to everything is unique and always joyful. The Raincoats are magnets that always attract and welcome so many great people into their orbit.

That said, I had a double teary-eyed moment when I witnessed the original, early version of Bikini Kill - Tobi, Kathi, and Kathleen - play together for the first time in 20 years. Bikini Kill’s music and message was the first thing to challenge me politically when I was growing up. Their music was essential to my understanding of the complexities and different perspectives which existed in the world at large.

Jenn Pelly’s writing shares that special energy which can also be found in the music and world of The Raincoats. Together, they created a beautiful weekend filled with rare performances, legendary musicians, and wonderful people. (Editor's note: Most of these photographs are from the November 4, 2017 celebration of the Raincoats which followed two night of conversations and music surrounding the release of the Raincoats 33 1/3 book. There are also bonus pics of Vice's trips to Superiority Burger and Sesame Street.)

Raincoats practice 11-04-17

Raincoats setlists

Performances, readings and videos 11-04-17

Kitchen crowd

Bonus pics

Vice Cooler is an artist, director and musician living in Los Angeles. He has worked as a touring drummer with The Raincoats for over 10 years and has collaborated on many other musical projects. He has directed over 50 music videos and worked on visual projects for Feist, Deerhoof and Adult Swim. His photography has recently been featured on the Body/ Head album “Coming Apart” and Kim Gordon’s “Girl In A Band”. He is also owner, writer and photographer for Haunts Of LA - a southern California haunted house review site. In his rare moments of spare time he volunteers at a dog shelter and helps out at the LA all ages venue The Smell. @VICECOOLER.

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