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Monday, February 28, 2005

ALAS POOR LUNA, I NEVER KNEW YE WELL

I went to go see the penultimate Luna show last night (there's another tonight - the last) at the Bowery Ballroom. I have only once before seen a show there, and had never seen Luna before. Kudos to Bowery Ballroom for having a re-entry smoking policy. I wish more venues would be so considerate of thier patrons. Luna was good too. I enjoy thier textures, and the songwriting. Luna offers a very intimate feel at their shows, and the crowd responds to it by talking to the band between numbers, lots of inside jokes, and song requests. This sort of rec-room vibe is enhanced by Dean Wareham's complete anti- rock star persona. They are like his extended family, and far be it from him to dress for the occasion. It was a good show, and Luna wil be missed by many, but not as many as those who have missed them completely for the past twelve or so years.

Comments:
[Ken] First time I saw Luna was in 1996, opening for Lou Reed. At the end of their set Lou came out and they did Ride Into The Sun together. It was great. Every time I've seen them over the years since they've been awesome live.

As for Dean's anti-rockstar persona, he got Britta, so who cares!
 
Glad to have you back from blogging hiatus!
 
Dean is, to me, the ultimate rock star.

This guy has hung out with everyone from Lou Reed to Stereolab, recorded with Sonic Boom and Sterling Morrison, had Tom Verlaine play guitar on the "Penthouse" record, and did music for "I Shot Andy Warhol."

He's notoriously prickly, though the few times I've met him he's been pretty nice, very laid back. It's funny, a lot of people consider him to be one of the godfathers of alternative rock, mostly because of his time in Galaxie 500.

Seeing them live on Sunday made me really sad and nostalgic. Luna was the first band I discovered when I got to New York, and having them end their 14 year run at Bowery, where I've seen them many times, was like the end of a really good book. They were the soundtrack of my 20's, they turned me on to the Velvet Underground (no small feat), and I learned to play guitar by listening to Dean and Sean Eden do their things. We're all a little older now, and I felt it Sunday.

For you indy film fans, did you catch "Sleeping Pill" (the last tune on "Bewitched") playing during a scene in "Sideways?"
 
[Ken] Chris, nice comments. I don't remember if you were into Bettie Serveert, but I URGE you to go see them on the 11th at the Bowery Ballroom. They are one of my favorite live bands, and another that's heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground. I actually prefer Bettie live than Luna. All else aside, Peter Visser's guitar playing is incredible. I can't wait for the show. And the Mosquitos, one of my girlfriend's favorite bands, is opening.
 
Well Chris' idea of a rock star differ from mine. I would never take the stage wearing that shirt. But as Kenny said, he got Britta....
 
first time i saw Luna was at the Supper Club in 1997, with Justin still on the bass. If you were working, living, writing, studying in NYC or abroad, Luna's lyrics,presence and live shows told a story for each individual which will be sorley missed. hope to see dean in the hood...
 
Saw Luna for the last time back in Jan in London - it was great but hell I wish I was in NYC last w/e.

There's a fans blog here about Luna's last days
Luna's Last Waltz
 
Jackson:

After I posted on Fred's blog, I checked back on the comments and noticed your comment about "missing something".

There's no real point in commenting on personal preference -- everyone has their tastes -- but seeing as Luna was so near & dear to me for over a decade, maybe I can share my personal opinion.

In the landscape, Luna more or less fit in the following way: "Fighting the post-grunge nightmare that ensued in the second half of the 90’s with songs that have a sense of serene space and allow the listener escape is far more valuable than playing the 'who’s more depressed?' game of oneupsmanship that drove the songwriting of other notable independents of the time." (Unattributed quote that was forwarded to me.)

I think why they were able to garner such a deep rapport with fans & critics alike -- the "missing" piece -- was their sense of intimacy. (Sounds corny, but go with me.) They weren't just musically accessible, they were very inclusive as their live performaces clearly demonstrated. For me, it wasn't that Luna "grew" on me as much as Luna and I grew together, fostering a kind of relationship. In this sense, their otherwise "restrained" sound need be rethought: Like someone deeply familiar, they never needed to exaggerate, but only gesture.

In keeping with the relationship analogy, they never made the mistake (or rarely) of taking the other (the listener or audience) for granted. If anything, the veulnerability they showed in their music was matched by their humility in their performances; they never were egomaniacal.

I really believe that intimacy was / is the key. For me, all other musical experiences have been inferior in this regard. I (and I believe so many other casual and dedicated fans) really felt a part of the whole process. Heck, when's the last time you ran into a band member and said, "Hey, what happened to Lee's snares" and got a perfectly friendy reply, or a whole conversation? (This happened to me just last night, even after the final show!)

Luna was one of those highly rarefied situations in which you truly could "take it with you".
 
Jackson might not have worn that shirt on stage, but I do seem to recall his doing a performance with Happy Boy in which the front of his pants was held together by duct tape...
 
[Ken] I should mention that a good friend of mine records all the shows he goes to, and very well at that. Besides the tons of Luna shows he's recorded, he got all four this past weekend. I will get copies as soon as he's done with them and would be happy to share with anyone who would appreciate the music.
 
A crotch that needs duct tape...That's Rock and Roll! I did steal that from John Rarrick. It is a matter of taste, and as I said I do like Luna. Not everybody wants something grand and in your face, but occasionally I do. And sometimes I appreciate a thoughtful band like Luna, and sometimes I long for the bravado of Phil Lynott.
 
Wasn't Rarrick the singer in Kablamachunk? What ever happened to them?
 
John was indeed the singer for the now defunkt (all puns intended) Kablamachunk. John resided in Nyack with his lovely wife and family. The other John (Magg) and Bobby have become business partners upstate, and Pete is married with family as well and still living in Pearl River I believe. As for the various drummers, I cannot say, though Frank-O is rumoured to have split for parts unknown in a van he renovated using secret government plans.
 
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