Even back in their day when they formed in the wake of 1991’s alternative explosion, NYC’s Luna were never fashionable. Despite falling under the “if it ain’t Genesis it’s alternative” tag, the band never really blew through the stratosphere.
Fast forward to 2015, the year where seemingly every 90s band has reformed, went on tour and cashed in, Luna announced their reformation earlier this year and the internet didn’t exactly break. Which is a shame, as following the breakup of his original band, the seminal Galaxie 500, frontman Dean Wareham was still crafting smart rock songs that still hold up quite nicely today and show they pre-date many of today’s current “it” bands, like the War on Drugs.
It was a little shocking at how sparse the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto was initially last night – the balcony was empty and the floor was as empty as I’ve seen it, but thankfully the floor would feature more bodies so the night wouldn’t be a complete write-off.
Thankfully the small crowd made up for it with the roar of a packed room. Opening with “Slide”, Wareham and his crew, including his bassist wife Britta, came armed with no frills but packed with great sounding songs underlining the fact that Wareham is one of our great songwriters.
For 80 minutes the band soldiered through their back catalogue touching on most of their albums and included “hits” “California (All the Way)” and Wareham’s falsetto star on “Tigerlily”.
While a bit slow to come out of their shell and loosen up, the crowd’s reaction seemed to quickly add some life to Wareham’s banter and letting the songs stretch out and breathe. While they may sound a bit “twee” to some on record, live Luna is a muscular beast and any missing extra trimmings weren’t missed as the crowd either danced or watched the band in awe.
A little tease of a cover of New Order’s “Ceremony” (Galaxie 500 do a sweet cover) wouldn’t materialize nor would they dip into Galaxie 500 territory at all, but the fans gathered had come for Luna and little else. The resulting evening was a memorable return to a cleaner 90s that rightfully should have been witnessed by many more people.