Tuesday, September 23
Sometimes you get that feeling – you’re in the right place, it’s the right time, and everyone around you is there to celebrate too. That’s the power of a really great gig, nostalgia gets a bad rap but it’s a big part of how we think and what we feel when we hear music from another time.
Luna existed through the 1990s, calling it a day in 2005. Since then Dean Wareham has made movie soundtracks, turned to acting, created albums with his wife (and Luna bandmate) Britta Phillips (under the name Dean and Britta) and only recently he released his first solo albums. Before all of that there was Galaxie 500. Wareham made his first appearance on a Wellington stage at the 2010 Arts Festival, a year later he was back to revisit the Galaxie 500 material. And now, finally, it was Luna’s turn. What is special about this – about finally seeing Luna, about Wareham making three trips to Wellington in five years, is that he was born here.
The reformed Luna kicked off with a track from 1994’s Bewitched before taking a tour through most of their key moments across the nineties: Sideshow by the Seashore, Chinatown and 23 Minutes in Brussels (from 1995’s Penthouse), Slide from the 1992 debut, Lunapark, and the gorgeous closer, Indian Summer from the 1993 Slide EP, the twin-guitar attack, those solos borrowed from Television and the Velvet Underground and reframed to hang just the right side of noisy-pop, the effortlessness of it all, soft-swipes at the drums with brushes and Wareham knowing how to get just the right amount from a voice that is thin but never feels like it is being stretched. It was perfect.
The sound was the best I’ve ever heard at MOON – once again feeling like a great venue – and the already special vibe was taken up a notch when the band’s original bassist, Justin Harwood (also Kiwi born and bred, ex The Chills) joined the stage for the second half of the show.
Add a great, scene-setting opening slot from cult Wellington act, the Spines, and it really was one of the best shows you could hope to see and feel and hear.
This review first appeared in The Dominion Post and online at Stuff here