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This post is by James Travis. James lives in Manchester and runs Dots & Loops which has been keeping the cool folk of Manchester entertained for ten years.

Luna in LA (Photo: James)

1h 48m of my flight back to the UK remaining and they have turned up the lights, seemingly to awaken all the crying children who had earlier thought better of doing so all the way to our destination. What better time to pull together my thoughts about what were my 7th and 8th Luna shows of 2015, at LA's Terragram Ballroom; a venue choice many miles ahead of the Garage in London, and also 5000 miles from.[1]

The first evening we travelled over from Joshua Tree to LA and met up with a friend who was coming to the show with us, and headed out towards the venue in search of Mexican food. I have to say, I wasn't feeling too clever after sampling the many delights of Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace the night previous, so I did the British thing; ordered my food and promptly left it there untouched. We shot over to the venue shortly after 8 and had a few drinks there, which perked me up a little, obviously.

Luna took to the stage just after 10pm, opting for a surprise opener with Fuzzy Wuzzy. I only recall seeing this once (maybe twice) at the previous 6 shows I've attended, but the guitar interplay between Sean and Dean makes this, for me, a great opener for those who have been yearning for a return from a band Rolling Stone magazine once called ‘the best band you've never heard’. Thankfully we don't have that misfortune. Chinatown followed, and by the third track of the night (Speedbumps) there wasn't a person in the venue that wasn't transfixed.

A powerful rendition of live favourite Indian Summer actually got me a little teary this first evening in LA. I think my friends were concerned about my mental state, but I pulled through ready to enjoy the second encore of California (All The Way). Following the show I said a quick hello to Sean and thanked him for the evening, and we then moved on to a highly unusual bar off the side of a highway which featured a rather large American guy who wasn't so fond of the British. He had been to Reading once, though.

Cut to Sunday morning, 6:50am. I am awoken by the alarm on my friends phone (which I have borrowed due to breaking my own at a Flipper gig a few nights previous) in an unfamiliar room at his parents place. The alarm was set to September Girls by Big Star, there's worse ways to wake up. Anyway, this was so we could watch Manchester City play out a dullest of 0-0 draws against Manchester United. It wasn't so hard to fall back asleep after that.

We did a fair amount in the day before the second show, including a visit to Amoeba records. During that visit I headed across the road to use the toilet at Jack in the Box on Sunset, and encountered some rather intense gentlemen poking their head over the cubicle to try and sell me some goods. No thanks buddy. After that, we headed to our hotel for the night to relax and have a couple of drinks before round 2.

This evenings show was not quite a capacity crowd, but it filled up nicely by the time Lee served up the opening drum fill on Chinatown. The band seemed tighter and more comfortable on the second night, Hedgehog and Freakin' & Peakin' being highlights of the Penthouse set for me, but the crowd lapped it all up without a second thought.

Penthouse set list and pass (Photo: James)

The encore for the evening included a first for me, with Black Postcards finally making an appearance (I had assumed it would be a setlist staple when the shows were first announced). This Time Around was perhaps my favourite of the evening, though Ride Into The Sun and the always brilliant Friendly Advice (which closed the evening) were also solid.

During the encore there was a cry of ‘ROCK YOUR BABY!’… It was me, sorry. Dean followed up with a ‘How are you James?’ and also let the crowd know I had travelled from England for the shows. ‘What a waste!’ I responded. I was lying. I had followed them to California (all the way), and what wasn't to love? We caught up for an hour or so after the show and shared a drink, then I returned to the hotel for some rooftop pool drinking. Not a bad way to round off what could be the last shows I see from this, the finest of reunion tours.

In what has been a highly unusual, and for the most part unsatisfactory, year; the Luna shows have been fine punctuation marks. I'd like to thank Dean, Britta, Sean, Lee, and all the promoters for 8 superb evenings in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, London, Leeds, Manchester, and LA. I can only hope a return to Europe is on the cards for 2016, but wherever they end up you can bet there's a good chance I'll find a way there.

James in LA with Sean, Britta and Dean (Photo: James - taken in Manchester in August)


[1] - This review of sorts was actually completed well after my return flight. I've been busy and lazy in equal measure.

AHFoW: Thanks a lot to James. If anyone wants to contribute to AHFoW please get in touch. I'm always looking for another perspective… I have nothing to offer in return but my thanks and the fame and prestige!

AHfoW would also like to apologise for the title of this post and for the fact that Manchester has more syllables than Phoenix and therefore it doesn't scan.

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It's Sonic Boom's birthday so here's some bits and pieces...

Luna @ ULU, London
Sonic Boom with Luna at their last but one London show in 2005
Dean & Britta and Sonic Boom
Sonic Boom with Dean & Britta in 2007
Sonic Boom playing with Cheval Sombre (and Dean & Britta in 2009)
Sonic Boom's remix of Dean & Britta's Ginger Snaps

and finally…

Dean modelling a Spacemen 3 T-shirt in 1990

Have a great birthday Pete from AHFoW

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The Silence, a band that rose from the ashes of legendary Japanese psych band Ghost, have just released a video for their cover of Damon & Naomi's Little Red Record Co.

The track is from their forthcoming LP Hark The Silence which will be released on Drag City.

The Silence

Damon & Naomi's original was released on their debut album More Sad Hits in 1992.

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Update: Just to confirm that I will be pulling a couple of names out of the hat to win prizes, so if you want the chance to win a poster, or a single, or some other goodies as yet undetermined then you need to vote (and include your email address when asked).

Vote in the 2015 survey

A shelf full of wishes

This year is the 20th anniversary of the A Head Full of Wishes survey[1], so head on over to this form and pic your favourite albums snf tracks by Galaxie 500, Luna, Damon & Naomi, Dean & Britta and Dean Wareham.

This years form is a little simpler but does reuire a bit more typing as you'll be writing down your favourite tracks rather than picking them out from a list.

I'm not sure I have much to offer as a prize this year - so you'll have to do it for the love of A Head Full of Wishes, or the love of numbers (that's why I do surveys!)

Vote in the 2015 survey

If you prefer voting by email feel free:

Send your votes in to picing out...

  • Favourite Galaxie 500 album and three favourite tracks
  • Favourite Luna album and three favourite tracks
  • Favourite Damon & Naomi album and three favourite tracks
  • Favourite Dean & Britta album and three favourite tracks
  • Favourite Dean Wareham album and three favourite tracks

I'll tot up the votes in the run up to xmas, so you have about a month to ponder your votes - and a month of me harrassing you to vote.

[1] The eagle-eyed among you may have noted that last year's survey was billed as "the 20th" - this year's however is the 20th anniversary of the first survey - I can find something to celebrate every year!

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You'd think I'd have better things to waste my time on… but you would, clearly, have been wrong! I apologise in advance for the lack of any genuine design skills!

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Luna on Last Call with Carson Daly

The clips from Luna's Los Angeles show that were shown on Last Call with Carson Daly are now available to watch online

The tracks were recorded at the band's second Los Angeles show a couple of weeks back:

LUNA - Malibu Love Nest - Teragram Ballroom - Los Angeles from rubyrecluse on Vimeo.

LUNA - Friendly Advice - Teragram Ballroom - Los Angeles from rubyrecluse on Vimeo.

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Just happened across this lovely video of Damon & Naomi playing How Do I Say Goodbye on a huge stage in front of a big and appreciative audience at the Gwangju Sajik Folk Music Festival back in September.

You can also read an interview with Damon & Naomi from before the festival.

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Luna with Stan Demeski (photo: Frank)

NYCTaper has just put up Luna's show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg that featured a special appearance from The Feelies (and former Luna) drummer Stan Demeski.

You can download kubacheck's excellent recording of the full show in FLAC or MP3 format from NYCTaper (or stream most of it if you prefer).

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Luna have a couple of media appearances while the US tour is wrapping up...

Luna on Carson Daly

Firstly on Monday 2nd November some excerpts from one of Luna's recent performances in Los Angeles will be broadcast on the Last Call with Carson Daly TV show on NBC.

The show airs at 01:35 (so technically it's the early hours of Tuesday morning) - so set your VCRs or whatever your modern equivalent is! The above image, pilfered from Luna's Facebook page has the details.

This could well be Luna's first TV appearance since playing on the John McEnroe show way back when... here's a clip of them playing Speedbumps and then being joined by Superbrat on a cover of Sweet Jane.

... then on Thursday 5th November the band will be playing a live radio performance for KEXP in Seattle… and I imagine that will be streaming live video too.

The last time they were at KEXP was I think in 2002 supporting Romantica - you can hear that show here... if your device can manage the out-dated format!