Storied indie-rock quartet Luna — led by Dean Wareham, seen most recently at MASS MoCA as one-half of Dean & Britta — returns after a 10-year hiatus. With its 1999-era lineup (Wareham, Britta Phillips, Sean Eden, and Lee Wall), the band sounds as strong as ever and is back with a sweet vengeance to open our summer season on Saturday, May 28, at 8pm, in the Hunter Center.
Described as “one of indie rock’s most beloved live acts” by Rolling Stone, Luna pairs poignant songwriting with wistful, weaving electric guitar riffs and chugging bass lines — ’90s nostalgic pop-rock at its best. Following the breakup of Wareham’s band Galaxie 500, Luna was formed in New York in 1991 by Wareham with Stanley Demeski of The Feelies and Justin Harwood of The Chills. After releasing its debut album Lunapark in 1993, the band underwent a handful of lineup changes throughout the decade — Sean Eden joined in 1994, Lee Wall took Demeski’s place on drums in 1997, and Britta Phillips replaced Harwood on bass in 2000. The group still produced five studio albums amidst all the changes: Bewitched (1994), Penthouse (1995), Pup Tent (1997), The Days of Our Nights (1999), and Romantica (2002). In 2011, Rolling Stone named Penthouse #99 on its “100 Best Albums of the Nineties.”
Attracting an adoring fan base over the years, Luna released its final album, Rendezvous, in 2005, after playing a final concert that February at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom and going on an indefinite hiatus. Dean Wareham and bassist Britta Phillips continued performing as duo Dean & Britta, while the rest of the band pursued other projects. The band’s devoted followers grew nostalgic, while Luna became “one of the best bands you’ve never heard of” (Rolling Stone).
Following a reunion concert in Los Angeles last spring where the band played Penthouse in its entirety, a brief tour in Spain, and a string of North American tour dates last fall, Luna brings its “simple, graceful, chiming chug” (The Guardian) to MASS MoCA on Memorial Day weekend. Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, a group exhibition featuring twenty-three international artists, opens at MASS MoCA on May 28, with a reception from 5 to 6:30pm, before the concert.
Luna plays in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center or Courtyard C on Saturday, May 28, at 8pm. Dinner is available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Concert tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of, and $40 preferred. The opening reception is free for members and $7 for not-yet-members. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays through June 24, 2016. Beginning June 25, the box office will be open 10am to 6pm every day, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours or purchased online at massmoca.org. All events are held rain or shine.