Live Review: Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500 and Ringo Deathstarr

17 Feb



Playing Galaxie 500: Dean Wareham


Komedia, Wednesday, February 16 2011

Ringo Deathstarr only play for 20 minutes, but it takes only 20 seconds to realise these Texan shoegazing disciples are nothing short of blistering live.

The trio pummel you into submission with fuzzed-up My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain inspired songs, all with just enough of an underlying melody to keep you hooked.

Big-haired guitarist Elliot Frazier and female bassist Alex Gehring share singing duties, but it’s when the latter takes over on songs like ‘Imagine Hearts’ that they come into their own.

The contrast between her silky vocals and a barrage of biting guitar is immense, and incredibly impressive. Okay, It’s nothing new and it’s never going to change the world, but it’s bloody good.

The frenzied support set couldn’t be further removed from Dean Wareham.

He sauntered on stage seemingly oblivious to how excited many people were at the prospect of seeing him play Galaxie 500 songs, 20 years after the hugely influential band’s demise.

With three album’s worth of dreamy and enigmatic material to pick from, Wareham didn’t scrimp when it came to delivering the favourites.

Aided by his partner Britta on bass and a touring drummer, Snowstorm got an early outing, showcasing Wareham’s trademark eerie vocals and stripped down guitar-lines to fine effect before one of the highlights of debut album ‘Today’, their tender take on Jonathan Richman’s ‘Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste’, got a rapturous reception.

While the crowd was by no means large, probably 150 at most, you knew that those present had waited a long time to see these songs live. But it was a sense of expectation and anticipation that seemed lost on Wareham. He was never known for engaging in much banter or putting on a visual performance, but at times tonight it felt like he was going through the motions.

As the set went on, the likes of ‘Tugboat’ and ‘Fourth of July’ reaffirmed why no-one here would have missed the chance of seeing them played live, but I’m not sure if Wareham was relishing playing them.

Galaxie 500 were criminally underrated in their day, but there’s plenty of people today who want to give them the credit they are due. Maybe Wareham just needs to embrace it a little bit more.


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