Luna in London and Leeds

Late Friday afternoon I dragged my tired self and tired boy into town for Luna’s second show of the UK tour. Bus delays got us to the pre-show meet a little later than expected and found a nice crowd had gathered at the cafe, and more arrived in the run up. We then headed along Upper Street to the Garage to catch the show, bumping into Dean and Britta as we did.

El May, was the first support, playing a short and sweet set switching between guitar and keyboards. El May is one time almost Luna member Lara Meyerratken who was in Luna’s touring band around the time of Romantica to “help [them] capture the sounds of [their] new record, to play the fake strings, sampled trumptes, mellotrons and other keyboard sounds” (Black Postcards p261). Since then she has released a couple of lovely albums, the most recent is the rather lovely The Other Person is You.
El May

Next up Flowers again – I’ve been harping on about just how great Flowers are for a couple of years and another Luna support slot is not going to change that opinion. The set, as in Brighton, was sprinkled with a few new songs. “Stuck” is still shiver-inducing, eclipsing effortlessly the talking and slamming of the toilet door at The Garage.

Luna’s set was similar to the previous night in Brighton, the crowd was loud and enthusiastic and the band again seemed to be enjoying themselves. The sound was a little heavy and Dean’s guitar solos were often lost in that, but this wasn’t enough to make the evening anything less than brilliant. The band threw Anesthesia in as an extra song in the encore and finished, again, with Blue Thunder and Indian Summer. The crowd left happy, and me and the boy headed home.

Hazel and I were up fairly early on Saturday morning and off to Kings Cross to catch the train up to Leeds for day three of the UK tour. We arrived in Leeds at the same time as the rain did – grabbed some food, dozed in the hotel and then I headed off to the pub for the Leeds show pre-meet. And then into the Brudenell Social Club for the show.
Got a ticket for my destination #homewardbound

This was my first visit to the Brudenell and was rather taken with the place, the room was spacious and comfortable, the sound was considerably better than that in The Garage, and the audience were keen and respectful.

First up were Flowers again – see above – there is nothing bad to say about Flowers and it was quite special to (again) be among friends who were falling in love with them the way I did. I think everyone loves Flowers.

Hookworms were second on the bill playing a low-key support slot – there’s a lot of noise, a fair bit of shouting, and an hour or so of their Hawdkwind play Sister Ray act was just about enough (or perhaps was a wee bit too much).
It's Hookworms, they're a 21st century Hawkwind

Luna’s set at The Brudenell was changed considerably from the previous two shows, opening with Chinatown and throwing in Time to Quit, a blissful Fuzzy Wuzzy, Bonnie and Clyde, and giving Sean’s Still at Home an outing. The set was closed with Tugboat and Indian Summer but the crowd persisted and got a second encore of Tiger Lily out of the band.

All three shows were brilliant in their own ways but Leeds was close to perfect – this was my last show of the tour (maybe ever?!) and I find it hard to believe that I didn’t see the best show of the tour.

Hanging around chatting to friends afterwards I could barely stop smiling – eventually Hazel and I headed to the hotel. The next day we went south and the band went north.

Luna were great, but what really made this tour special was all the fantastic fans I met, folk from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, and all over the UK. Every one of them I’m proud to call a friend, and proud that they call each other friends too! Luna fans really are the best.

2015-07-31: Luna + Flowers + El May at The Garage

2015-08-01: Luna + Hookworms + Flowers at the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Luna and Flowers at Sticky Mike’s in Brighton

Luna in Brighton

Wednesday evening sitting in a holiday cottage in Derbyshire with one full day of our holiday left.

“What shall we do tomorrow?” asks Hazel.

“Well” I reply hesitantly, “we could go home and then I could go and see Luna in Brighton?”

My long-suffering partner rolled her eyes. “How long have you been waiting to suggest that?”

“I’ve only just thought about it now” I lied.

So, we packed up and on Thursday morning we drove down to London, I dropped of Hazel (she gets to see Luna in Leeds on Saturday) then picked up a pal and we headed down to Brighton for Luna’s first UK show since an amazing night at ULU in January 2005.

We arrived in Brighton after a long, long drive mostly spent crawling around the M25. Grabbed a bite to eat and headed off to Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in time to catch most of the always spellbinding Flowers beautiful set.

Sticky Mike’s is a dingy basement club with a low ceiling and black painted walls – it’s what all venues were like in the 80s – oddly shaped and with a low stage which, while making viewing a little tricky it made for a particularly intense atmosphere.

Luna arrived on stage and once the missing setlists were located and positioned at the base of mic stands and drum kit, they played a nicely mixed up set. Every track a gem – the band were relaxed and clearly enjoying playing together.

Bewitched was beautiful, there’s something very special about being in a room full of Luna fans because my online life tends to keep them at a distance. But to hear folk around me singing along to Bewitched almost brought me to tears.

The set was nicely mixed up and finished with a storming Friendly Advice followed by 23 Minutes in Brussels. An encore of a couple of covers, Blue Thunder and then Indian Summer, was a perfect ending.

The once (minor) disappointment of their show in Porto in April was that they never played Indian Summer. I know it’s a cover but it is also, oddly, most definitely a Luna song. They played it at the first Luna show I saw in 1992, and the last one in 2005 – and, very possibly, at every one in between. When that eBow hum started last night I new that Luna were back.

Show finished – a bit of loitering, then to a bar, and then back to London and in bed by 3am!

The pictures are a little ropey – I’m sure others will have better ones. Keep your eyes peeled on Instagram and Flickr.

You can now follow Luna on Twitter (as well as Instagram and Facebook).

London tonight – if you’re nearby and haven’t made up your mind this is one you’d be silly to miss!

Flowers, now with four times as many bass strings #flowers

Luna in Brighton

Dean and Britta to release soundtrack album for Mistress America

Mistress Ameirica: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips’ soundtrack for the upcoming Noah Baumbach film Mistress America will be released by Milan Records in August when the film gets it’s general release.

Dean and Britta previously scored Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, and Dean has been involved in most of his films in some form or other.