LUSH London Camden Roundhouse 06 May 2016
Dependent on where you came in, Lush are a shortlived Britpop band that had a couple of brilliant hits and then vanished... or a near legendary band, of no small potency, who changed, evolved, created glory, and then.. disappeared on the cusp of their next great step. But if ifs and buts were halibuts, or something. Can't go back. Only forward.
This weekend, the reformed Lush, after a somewhat haphazard US tour – half of which was aborted at short notice thanks to the hostile and unthinking bureaucracy of the American Embassy and Visa system – return to London for a celebration. Being the first shows announced and onsale, these are the shows for which people have Travelled. Booked flights from America, and possibly the Antartic. No pressure then.
It's an identical set to Hackney, three weeks previous. With some more shows under their belt, the band are tighter. Justin Welch – who barely betrayed any first night nerves in an excellent showing – is a great choice. The songs sound the same. Sure, it was weird for the first show, seeing someone else on the drum stool... but ultimately, there's no finer choice. A natural choice.
For a band with a strong set of singles in their armoury, there's some choices missing - “Nothing Natural”, “Single Girl” - but there's no sense of anything missing, or absent. The euphoria of their return is perhaps, more understated. Not the huge sense of joy, but more a sense of... return. After all, who hasn't returned and reformed these days? But perhaps, better is the sense of continuation. Lush are already recording new stuff and have a future going their way.
We're older and fatter and balder, and all that stuff. But isn't part of the journey what's exciting? The fact it isn't the same? That these are old songs in new times. The way that those songs may have had a meaning then, but now, they have a different meaning, even if what that meaning is is... unclear. Great art has more meanings with time, more... intricacies... still reveals new elements all these years later.
Ultimately, Lush acquit themselves excellently. What I feel is that, and it's confirmed further from the previous show, is that Lush are a band that I think for, not feel. (The difference is small, but huge). Some bands make me move myself, or express myself. Lush are the kind of band who, when I hear them, my mind explores and moves. This isn't music for losing your mind to, for standing alas a world, hands to the sky, but one where we lose ourselves. And so, whilst on the outside, I may be being uncharacteristically undemonstrative (that is, not peeling out note perfect air guitar solos, for starters!), it's one where inside, I am moving, and inside my head, I'm … going places, in a way that we often don't do with music. Some music – that's all there is, the noise, the sound, the ideas, the emotion, the feeling, whatever it is, you just concentrate on noise, and it's one of those nights when you turn down the lights and everything comes into view... where, when everything clears... everything makes sense and everything connect and … you think, you feel, like a form of meditation. Where everything else goes away. Lush are one of the bands here I explore inner space.
But, like Pink Floyd, their music is the type where I feel, where I think.. where my mind wanders, and the band performing live is the trigger for meditation and thought, for thinking and exploring. I don't dance to the songs. I feel them. I think my way through things like “Light From A Dead Star”, and absorb the fact that Lush are in the same room as me, playing songs. What matters is not what Lush were once. What matters is what they are now.. and what they will be in the future. We live in a changing world. And that is beautiful to experience.
Light From A Dead Star
Out of Control
Sweetness And Light
Leaves Me Cold