UK shoegazers Lush have reunited to play their first North American tour in twenty years. The group, formed in London in the late 80’s, rose to prominence through a series of releases that mixed pop-like harmonies with loud waves of guitar driven feedback. Their sound, while not as experimental as some of their shoegaze contemporaries, would further shift toward the mainstream during the height of Britpop with the release of Lovelife in the mid-90’s. Lovelife would become Lush’s biggest selling album, and while at the pinnacle of their popularity, it would sadly be their last. The band stopped touring and recording in 1996, after the tragic suicide of drummer Chris Acland. Unable to continue after the loss of Acland, the remaining members of Lush moved on to other endeavors. However, they say time heals all wounds, and original members Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson, and Phil King have decided that they are in the right place and it’s the right time to play music together again. With record label 4AD re-issuing their best-of compilation Ciao! and releasing a career-spanning box set, the band have hit the road with Justin Welch of Elastica filling in on drums. The tour recently stopped at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC.
With the stage bathed in blue and purple light and waves of smoke weaving in and out of swirling hypnotic back lights, Lush took the stage to a boisterous and warm welcome from the packed house. Despite only having played a limited number of shows since their twenty-year absence, the band was remarkably fresh and unfazed. Standing front and center, Miki Berenyi, remained as confident as ever and her stage presence was undeniable. Flanked on either side by Emma Anderson and Phil King, they delivered a tight set, that while centered on their early releases, pulled from across their catalog. The interplay of vocals and guitar lines between Berenyi and Anderson was solid and seamless. The show left fans with a mixture of sadness and joy. Sadness at the years lost, and joy at the triumphant and solid return to form. With the release of an EP of new music, here’s hoping that the return of Lush is more than a celebration of past glories.
Tamaryn started the evening with a modern, darker, goth-influenced take on the shoegaze genre. The set mixed a heavier psychedelic haze of sound with an almost dance-like sensibility and set the tone for the evening with a brooding yet ethereal atmosphere.