I never thought that I would have a chance to see Lush, the London-based shoegaze legend of the nineties, but my dream came true on April 20th. I could not describe how excited I was when I first saw their classical logo banner hung on the stage right after I walked into Showbox. Due to some visa issue, the British shoegaze legends were forced to postpone 3 concerts and scrapped their first set at Coachella. However, Seattle was fortunate to host the first stop of their reunion tour in the United States. Ciao, Lush!
Born in the golden age of shoegaze, I was not really exposed to the genre until 2013, which is also known as the year of the return of shoegaze. After listening to my very first shoegaze song “Just Like Honey” by The Jesus and Mary Chain, I just couldn’t help myself from digging deeper into the shoegaze world. Turning on the shoegaze radio to Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and Lush was like opening Pandora’s Box. Unlike many other shoegaze bands, Lush’s music is not melancholy at all, but a unique combination of shoegazing marrow and vivid Brit-pop.
With mist and golden beams, the soft guitar lines and light fuzzy-synth sounds from the brilliant opener De-Luxe slowly brought the audience back to the most glorious era of shoegaze. The wall of sound was gradually built up by guitar distortion, feedback, and Miki’s blurred voice, along with Brit-pop melodies. While “Hypocrite” remained charmingly venomous, “Lovelife” is like sweet candy. Meanwhile, wave after wave of fuzzy noise poured out through the sultry air and excited every sense and organ in the human body. Indeed, these were what the old shoegaze fans had been waiting for over 20 years. How many fantastic memories were contained in the crisscrossing guitar-lines and drumbeats! Every single song embodied classic Lush!
However, there was something different. Miki’s trademark fluorescent red hair was now pure black and her voice went deeper than before, Phil’s hair was all white, and Justin honored his best friend Chris, who was the original drummer and committed a tragic suicide in 1996, with his adept drum skills. Only Emma stayed in her consistent way. Yet, this is the new Lush after vanishing for 20 years. Their new song “Out of Control” is written in a typical Lush’s dreamy formula. It is not difficult to notice the similarity of “Lovelife” and “Thoughtforms”, but the song goes way darker. Perhaps this is what an obsession with shoegaze should be, as Miki sings “out of control but I love you so much.”
Their best song, “Ladykiller” set the crowd on fire as it always did with spunky circular melody. The manic distortions from “Downers” drained the last bit of energy from the audience, while the mellow clip “Desire Lines” served as the most appropriate and irresistible one for the show ending encore.
Welcome back Lush! Welcome back shoegaze!
WAIHO (MELVIN) YUEN | Long live Shoegaze! | Assistant Music Director
Revised by Geran Landen | Music Director