Moonbeams & Fruit on the Beach

Is there a doctor in the house? In the House of Pancakes?

So, Luna last night at the Paradise. I think I have seen them more times than any other national band. Going to a Luna show is like putting on your favorite jeans. They fit, they’re broken in, you’ve had a lot of good times in them, and you always know what to expect.

The band was rumpled and fuzzy, like they rolled out of bed from a pleasant dream just in time for the show. Except for front man Dean Wareham, who seemed to have just awoken from a vivid nightmare, damp and matted, to discover that he was playing guitar. A few songs into the show, he also discovered that he was on stage, and later, singing to a packed club. I can’t figure out how someone so tortured and neurotic in appearance can make such easy, golden music. The boy needs a sandwich and a big hug.

Luna sounds like sunshine at Coney Island Beach at seventeen, toes digging through warm sand to that cool damp part underneath, drinking a frosty beverage out of a pineapple, smiling. Driving a red 50’s Cadillac convertible with the top down, under palm trees and a shimmering sunset, with your favorite person in the world sitting in the passenger seat.

Sunlight beaming from the amps: Bright major chords and slide guitar on Dean’s sunburst Les Paul, vibrato, double-whammy, Hammond organ, and lolling, wandering bass lines. In the midst of these warm rays stands Dean, like a junkie the morning after, trembling at the mic, staring out past the audience with frightened eyes as though he is being held hostage on stage. His strange voice cracks as he sings unblinking: “You know I tried to please ya / you’re under anesthesia.”

Strange boy.

The cool thing about Luna is that they’ve enjoyed enough commercial success to keep making music for more than a decade, but I can still go see them at Paradise or Avalon for twelve bucks and not worry about lines so much.

If you haven’t heard Luna, I advise that you get your hands on some. Especially now that summer is almost upon us. I think my favorite album is Penthouse, featuring the song “Sideshow by the Seashore” (we stumbled upon the actual place at Coney Island last year while romping through Luna Park during the Mermaid Parade). The new one is called Romantica. They played a few tracks off it last night, and it was good stuff.

I need to start putting up some of my photographs. I wish I had a scanner or a digital camera. If anyone is itching to get me a ridiculously early birthday present, I’ll post an original photo essay as evidence of your greatness.