A night with Dean Wareham at the Horseshoe Tavern

April 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm (Uncategorized)

My meeting with the work of Dean Wareham came not through a record, but a book. I was travelling to Florida and needed something for the plane. I walked on with Black Postcards, Wareham’s autobiography. Sure, sure I knew Galaxie 500 and Luna, but I’d never really paid them than much attention. Time to change. The book was such a good read, I knew that I had to know all about these bands. And very soon, I did. and then waited years to see him live.

Opening band Elsa played a (dream) poppy set, which warned things nicely for the main event

Wareham, and his band, including his wife and former Luna member Britta Phillips ambled onto the stage at 10:30.  An old joke has it that people would often yell at Galaxie 500 shows, “Play slower! Play slower!” Whether that story has any basis in reality or is merely apocryphal, the effect of listening to Wareham live (or at home for that matter) is of a slow burning fire, gathering in intensity, burning in energy.

Between songs Wareham chatted to the audience about the weather, the Mayor of Toronto, and the experience crossing into Canada. If it seems dreary, it wasn’t. It felt as if we were speaking with an old friend who played some of his favourite songs for us. A spellbinding intimacy.

The set drew from throughout his career including many old Galaxie 500 favourites through to the new album. Sure, sure, I would have liked to hear “Fourth of July” or the covers of “Final Day” or “Submission,” but the closing song of the night was a sublime cover New Order’s “Ceremony,” so any complaints would merely seem churlish.

As I drove home, I wonder why three decades in a rich career he was playing a small venue like the Horseshoe instead of Massey Hall. For the audience, we were the lucky ones.

Set (Courtesy of Set list FM)

1. Emancipated Heart
2. Blue Thunder
3.Heartless People
4. When will you come Home
5. The Dancer Disappears
6. Holding Pattern
7. Tiger Lily
8. Love is Not a Roof Against the Rain
9. Babes in the Wood
10. Tugboat
11. Indian Summer


Happy and Free


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