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Luna - Farewell Tour

Going Out With A Bang Rather Than A Whimper

Luna's show at The Fillmore on February 5th marks the band's final San Francisco appearance. In 2004, just before releasing its seventh and final album Rendezvous, the group decided to call it quits -- a sad occasion for the legion of Luna fans devoted to their refined brand of sublime dream pop. It's also a perfect opportunity to reflect on the legacy of this seminal band, which ends its 14-year career firmly entrenched in music history, and will best be remembered as an archetype of New York hipster cool.

Lead singer/guitarist Dean Wareham is the name and face most associated with, and really the heart and soul of, Luna. He formed the trio after the difficult breakup of his previous band, 80s shoegaze icons Galaxie 500. The new group released several albums throughout the next decade using a variety of lineups and, like Galaxie 500, wore its Velvet Underground/Lou Reed influence prominently on its tight alt-rock t-shirt. Wareham's stylized vocal drone and the ever-present fuzzy melodic guitar helped create an entire canon of psychedelic and positively addictive tunes. The group's signature stamp is its sophistication, both in the wistful and oft-sarcastic lyrical delivery and the complexity of the songs on close listen. Probably the closest contemporary comparison is Yo La Tengo, though Luna has influenced a number of young bands imitating and hoping to continue the lineage, like local up-and-comers Morning Spy.

Also important to consider is Luna's iconic stature, particularly in the Manhattan indie rock scene. The group occupies a special place as New York musical royalty -- descriptive words that come to mind are urban, ambient, sexy and smart. The band embodies those virtues in their music and style, and are, thus, considered important forebearers to that which is now considered cool (read: The Strokes, Interpol and the like). Fittingly, Luna's final show will be played at New York's Bowery Ballroom on February 27.

Rendezvous is a terrific final entry from Luna. It takes everything they do best and nails it one last time, creating a captivating piece of art perfect for either a lazy morning with a lover or a classy cocktail soiree. Luna create moods on this (and every) album -- sometimes blissful, sometimes spacey, sometimes arresting, sometimes debaucherous. Highlights are the smooth opener "Malibu Love Nest", the splendid "Astronaut" and the up-tempo melody of "Buffalo Boots". It will certainly be a treat to see the band perform their newest dream stanzas, albeit for the last time.

This will likely not be the end of Wareham's musical career. He has described the disbandment as one borne of proactivity -- to avoid what happened with Galaxie 500 and go out strong, rather than wait for a bitter end. Sounds pessimistic, but we're optimistic he'll be back in some different form to create more music for drifting away.

Luna w/ Midnight Movies
Saturday, Feb. 5, 9 pm
The Fillmore
All Ages