Sideshow by the Seashore: LUNA play Penthouse live in Vancouver

“Maybe Dean will be there. Dean, with this weird high-pitched wail and high-tone cheekbones. Dean, who once caused me to hide behind a pool table in Islington so in awe I was of his first band’s stately psychedelic music.”

“The streets of New York, 1993”
Everett True, The Electrical Storm

Sure Galaxie 500 were good. But the hip kids knew that anything with Dean Wareham in it was gonna be. But LUNA was better. Come at me. (We’ll sit and discuss it over a London Fog with almond milk from one of those places where they take the time to polish each bean and talk nice to the tea leaves.)

It hasn’t been that long since I’ve seen my friend Dean, whom I first met by accident in a budget hotel lobby in Toronto in 1992. (That sounds seedy but it wasn’t.) But it’s been five years since I’ve seen him with one of my desert-island dream bands, LUNA.

When I close my eyes and listen to LUNA, especially when they’re playing their art-show-cool album Penthouse in its entirety like now, I’m thrust so so clearly back into 90s memories, I practically land on a plaid shirt.

Luna's Dean Wareham, photo Mikala Folb/

There were roti and Red Stripes at our first interview in 1992 in Toronto, when Stan Demeski was in the band. My memories involve bringing the band donuts because of an in-joke that went on for too long, listening to goth music at the Dance Cave with then-bassist Justin Harwood and Dean after their show at Lee’s Palace, and heading over, a year or so later, to a wild house party. Guitarist Sean Eden was there, and drummer Lee Wall, too. When I prod Lee’s memory about that time this time, he says “1995-96? I remember.” And nods sagely. I believe him. Those were some good times.

There’ve been countless other times too: I was at LUNA’s “last show” in London, England in 2005, and their return shows in 2015 in Seattle, Washington. There have been Dean & Britta times, Galaxie 500 songs-on-tour times, Dean-promoting-his-excellent-biography-Black Postcard times in there also.

But none compare to the LUNA times. Those are the best. And so I spend a lot of this gig with my eyes closed, smiling and listening to the chill, great music and thinking about all those times. I squeal too loud and jump up involuntarily when they fit their cover of the Cure’s “Fire in Cairo” into the set, and Dean notices. The aging goth in me bows to the ageless vampire in you. And the rest of the time I’m just swoonin’. THIS SHIT WILL NEVER GET OLD. Every instrument has its place and there’s no fat. And in addition to all of Penthouse, there’s “Bonnie & Clyde”, “Indian Summer” and “Friendly Advice” and I close my eyes and I’m happy to have my friends back.

Afterwards, I talk to Luna about how I’ve been taking photos of, and with, Luna since before her time, during the Stanley and Justin era. Her eyes light up. At the reunion in 2015, they both attended the New York shows. “I got to sit back and watch half a LUNA show!” Britta says, excitedly. “It was SO great.”

See, the hip kids know where it’s at. \m/

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