Luna, the post-Galaxie 500 brainchild of singer and guitarist Dean Wareham, split in 2005 after a 13-year run that produced a total of seven albums. While they might never have achieved quite the legendary status of Wareham’s first band, they still managed to build a significant following, and a one-off reunion of Wareham and bassist Britta Phillips (who have performed as Dean and Britta since) in 2012 with guitarist Sean Eden for a festival in Brooklyn sparked off speculation of the possibility of a more official regrouping. These rumors finally came to fruition earlier this year with a string of dates in Spain back in April, which is now being followed up with a fall tour of the US. Last Tuesday, the band, in their final lineup with Wareham, Phillips, Eden, and drummer Lee Wall, returned to the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC for the first time in over a decade (their last stop at the club was in December 2004).
The band opened the show with “Slide,” the first track off of 1992’s Lunapark, which introduced Luna to the world. Through a 13-song main set and two encores, the band played tracks from five of their seven albums, with a particularly heavy emphasis on 1995’s Penthouse (six tracks, including “Chinatown,” “Kalamazoo,” and “23 Minutes in Brussels”) and 1994’s Bewitched (four tracks, including “Friendly Advice” and “Tiger Lily”). Though the band has been away for a decade and never had a proper “hit,” the dedicated audience still filled the club, and stood enthralled through the entire performance. Eden noted at one point between songs how much the area around the venue had changed since the band had last been there. The band closed out the show with their cover of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch,” which they had originally released as a single in 1996.
There’s been no word yet on whether this is a longer-term reunion in which we can expect to see new music, or simply a one-off tour to give the fans what they’ve been asking for for years now. But the chemistry between the band that made them great is still there, and based on the response that they received at the show, new material would be more than welcome. We can only hope they decide to continue.
In quite a different performance from Luna, retro glam rocker Diane Coffee, the alter-ego of Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming, tore up the stage with tracks from his latest album, Everybody’s a Good Dog.