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Luna Live

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Album Review

Dean Wareham told Ice Magazine, "Generally speaking I don't like live albums, except for bands like Television and a few others. But having just made one I now know that you can capture all the live energy that's just about impossible to capture in the studio — unless you're a band like AC/DC, that is." Despite his initial reservations, Luna Live is a hypnotic, bittersweet, transcendental pop masterpiece. It finds the band in great form at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and also New York's Knitting Factory, and yet the presentation of the sound quality and the mastering are situated in such a way that it seems like one evening. Even a personnel change in the middle of the record goes almost unnoticed as the previous bass player Justin Harwood plays the middle seven tracks and his apt replacement Britta Phillips plays the front three and last four. Ten years of Luna are presented here by way of inspired presentations of songs from each of their studio efforts. Luna Live uses this material as a departure point, pulling out smart and inspired versions of "Double Feature" (mistitled as "Friendly Advice" on the back cover), "Pup Tent," and if they have (or if anyone has) ever soared to the heights of "Marquee Moon," it's with this version of "23 Minuets in Brussels." Wareham and second guitarist Sean Eden completely take this one away to places of guitar eminence where they are in complete and utter control of sound. Any good rock show (and one is certainly translated here) is like a good film. Participating in either of them makes one feel like they can do anything: like you have escaped from your cube and have decided to walk around the city all day watching the world go by while thinking about lost love and aspirations for a future that is at once so distant and unattainable. [The Arena Rock Recording Co. also released a vinyl version of Luna Live with four bonus tracks.]

Biography

Formed: 1991

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In the wake of the rather acrimonious breakup of his previous band, Galaxie 500, singer/guitarist Dean Wareham issued a 1991 solo EP, Anesthesia, and appeared on the brilliant Mercury Rev single "Car Wash Hair" before announcing the formation of a new band, dubbed Luna, in 1992. Originally named Luna², the trio was a kind of alternative...
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