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Live Review: Luna, Sand Pebbles

21 September 2015 | 12:38 pm | Guido Farnell

"Luna seem to suggest that they are back together for the moment but they will go their separate ways when this tour's all done."

After Galaxie 500 disbanded after three simply brilliant albums, Dean Wareham moved on to form Luna which released a string acclaimed albums through the '90s. Tonight, they sound like a throwback to the music some of us were listening to way back when. There's a hint of nostalgia about the room when Wareham asks the crowd if they attended the Luna's last show in Melbourne back in 1998, which coincided those few days when a significant part of Melbourne was left high and dry without electricity — or was that gas? Despite the '90s vintage of these tunes, Wareham's music has always reflected the influence of distinctly New York bands like Velvet Underground and Television. It's no coincidence that Luna managed to get Lou Reed as guest vocalist on a great live cover of Ride Into The Sun that's doing the rounds on YouTube. 

It's also no coincidence that Wareham would want Melbourne's Sand Pebbles to support Luna. Sand Pebbles wear the same influences on their sleeves to arrive at in the same space that Luna inhabits. Their sound is tight and polished offering less grit in the mix and at times driving along to comfortable motoric rhythms.

The reformed four-piece, Luna, features a wise cracking Sean Eden on guitar, Lee Wall on drums and Britta Phillips on bass — all forming a tight circle around Wareham. Their guitars are fuzzed and psychedelic, subtly flecked with the influence blues and country edging towards the dreamy but clinging to the three-chord indie aesthetic that The Velvets laid down back in the '60s. Penthouse is undoubtedly most people's favourite Luna album and cuts like Moon Palace and 23 Minutes In Brussels achieve a voluptuous dreaminess that make them highlights on the set list. With seven albums to their credit, it seems that fans would only be satisfied if Luna played every last song in their extensive catalogue. Instead we are treated to highlights that even revisit Galaxie 500's Tugboat. Concluding with a cover of Beat Happenings' Indian Summer, Luna seem to suggest that they are back together for the moment but they will go their separate ways when this tour's all done. It's disappointing that we didn't get Lost In Space. Kudos to the lady who pushes her way through to the front row like a cannonball to nab a handwritten set list, at which most of us were just staring blankly.