Concert Review: Dean Wareham, Dec. 8, Relentless Garage

London –  Ah, nostalgia.  Within the span of this week alone, London will have played host to quite a few bands of a certain vintage – James, Suede, and of course, former Galaxie 500 singer Dean Wareham.  The Suede reunion show was of course a big nostalgic reunion show and James is still a going concern as far as putting new music out, but Wareham is an interesting case.  While he has consistently put out music since the Galaxie 500 days (first as Luna, and then with his wife as Dean and Britta), he’s currently on a tour playing all of his old band’s songs.  Except it’s not a reunion, more of a revisitation of his back catalogue.  Some may question the validity of playing these songs without his old bandmates, but it seems unlikely that a full reunion will happen and he is playing songs he wrote (and a bunch of covers … more on that later) so I have no problem with it.  After all, nobody made much of a fuss when Roger Waters did a tour of The Wall recently and nobody’s gonna say Paul McCartney shouldn’t play Beatles songs.  Still, it did seem a little weird when Britta Phillips sang a version of “Listen The Snow Is Falling,” a song sung on the original Galaxie 500 version by Naomi Yang.  Then again, it was a Yoko Ono cover so it’s not like Naomi has any special claim on that song.

Speaking of older music, openers Young Prisms are a young band, but they play a type of music heavily influenced by the shoegaze bands of the past.  While they may not necessarily be treading new ground, they still sounded pretty good, and looked like they were having fun up there.  Speaking of retro, they had their album available in 3 formats – CD, vinyl and cassette!  I was sorely tempted to buy that cassette.  Singer Stef Hodapp had a pretty good voice, but they need to find something for her to do during those long droney sections so she’s not just standing to the side of the stage drinking beer while they jam it out.  They too seemed pretty excited to see Dean Wareham, even though they probably weren’t all even born yet when Galaxie 500 started.

Wareham put on a pretty solid performance.  Although he seemed a bit reserved at first and just got down to the business of playing the songs right away, he did loosen up pretty quickly,telling two stories that began the same way (“I wrote this song after some friends and I took acid…”) and responding to a few shouted requests for Galaxie 500’s Rutles cover, “Cheese and Onions” by finally relenting during the encore.  “You said it three times.  That means I have to play it.  Like in that movie Candyman.”  He also dedicated a song to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, asking if anyone knew which jail he was in, then asking, “Is it nice there?”  I didn’t realize he was such a witty guy.  He closed things off with a cover of New Order’s “Ceremony” that certainly ended things on a high note.

Galaxie 500-Ceremony by dvgf

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything

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