In Limbo –
It was hot outside. The weather in September is always hot, usually after a cold front in late August to begin the color change. Wearing shorts and t-shirts, M and I were headed into the entrails of Detroit, to St Andrews Hall, a seed of hate and discourse for venue goers.
Assaulted by short and yelling black men waiving orange flags, cars will drive slowly with two tires in each lane and gaping maw. Upon turning into one parking lot with a large “$7 parking” sign after asking the attendant, “Is it seven today?” and the attendant replies, “Yes,” patrons will be disappointed to discover that parking is $10 and that the previous exchange was a “misunderstanding.”
I asked if I could cross the DMZ to get into the box office and the ten+ employees all looked at me. I left and came back on the other side of the riot gates to ask if I could go buy a ticket and one of them seemed to understand I wanted to give them my money. I had previously been informed that I only had one ticket because the venue rep brought an odd number to Stormy Records on record store day, a day I will from now until eternity be sure to take a vacation day for.
The lady at the ticket booth dropped my change on the ground and moved the trash can, computer, and shelving unit until she found all eight dollars. I was very glad I could save twelve-fifty by not buying from…
Dead Nation! lolmirite!!!
I just had to make it through an hour of standing around, wishing I would have spent $8 on a can of beer and that I had brought a fur coat since the A/C was blasting out of control. Who likes being frozen solid while being forced to stand in place for hours at a time? Apparently, St Andrews Hall attendees do and the conversation was typical. “I’ve been waiting 20 years to see these guys,” “I’ve been listening to these guys since before they broke up,” “I missed them last time they came through.” All of these statements were true for a change, though I expect this is becoming a more common experience since so many old bands seem to be getting back together. Perhaps a good retirement plan is releasing some albums under a pseudonym, having a dramatic breakup, then announcing a reunion tour decades later.
Tamaryn was up first. The early stuff is very shoegazy and great, but the performance was sort of cross-over synthwave dance music with super dominant guitar fuzz and an exceedingly loud kick drum and plunky bass. The set up to the drum track was Tamaryn on vox, a guitar guy who must have come from a Pacific Sunwear catalogue shoot, and a bass player. It was still good, but only the 2nd and 3rd songs were my fancy. The rest all had much less energy and were very redundant feeling. The best part of the performance was this black guy in underwear and a windbreaker that was twerking and gyrating all over the stage for several songs.
After Tamaryn, an army of stage crew came out and tore down for many moons. Then more crew came out to set up for Lush. Set up felt like it lasted about 45 minutes and they started playing at about 9:20.
Here it was, after decades of waiting, watching insanely overpriced vinyl, listening intently to each note, watching rips of tapes and shows, all of us wanting so badly to be back in early 90’s UK; four musical talents with an average age of 49 were entertaining hundreds of blokes who refused to leave the past in the dust, dragging in tow significant others who do not quite detest whatever genre of music this is.
No songs went into the next. They were each divided by applause, silence, and usually a guitar swap. Sometimes there would be a guitar swap for one song, then a swap back for the next. Sometimes there was two guitars being swapped at the same time. Luckily for everyone involved, the swaps were all smooth and quick. It would have been nice for at least some of the energy of one song to bleed into the next.
All of the songs I wanted to hear were played and they were all glorious. “Light From a Dead Star” was the only song I had to hear or I would wreak the place, but hearing “For Love” and “Thoughtforms” was very pleasant. The new tracks off of the EP were much better than the EP itself. I gave the EP another listen to the next day and was equally disappointed with the recordings as last time. They turned out to be good live songs, though the only tracks played live were just one side of the ep.
After the main set, the main stage hand came out and tuned Anderson’s guitar. The no surprise encore featured three songs. Then the band left again, but there was suspicion of another encore. The suspicion was the stage hand bringing out a guitar and setting it on a stand. Also, King was standing around back stage. After minutes of crowd enthusiasm, Lush came back on for one last song.
Berenyi’s vocals were great. She only seemed to strain on one song. Anderson had no difficulties at all. Welch seemed to drop the beat a couple of times, but not enough for anyone to notice if they weren’t intimate with either live music or the recordings. King on bass was present and invisible.
I sat on this review for a couple of weeks, mostly because I was lazy, but also because I was nervous. I do not want my musical tastes to become dated, because to do so is to admit that music is changing and I am not changing fast enough. This band played music when I was in middle school. I did not know I enjoyed music until much later in life and I did not have a clue about the impressions it left on me until even later when really digging into shoegaze. No one is getting younger. Music continues to flow. Fusion entropies genres into the great homogenous white light. Soon, not only shoegazers, but also normies, junkies, and flunkies will all be listening to the same sin waves. But that’s what we were saying in 96.
Well, I was still eating my boogers.