Desire Lines: Brit rock icons Lush played a riveting reunion set at Union Transfer

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Lush | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Lush | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

A line of fans of all ages trailed down Spring Garden Street last night, all the way around the corner at 11th and halfway down to Callowhill, waiting for Union Transfer’s doors to open for the return of British rock faves Lush.

Their anticipation was twenty years in the making for this reunion, another in a recent wave of local appearances from ‘90s dreampop bands. Just last month, in another 20th anniversary reunion tour, record label 4AD compatriots Belly played the same beloved Philly venue, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this week. And in December, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips of Luna and Galaxie 500 will play a Velvets tribute show, headlined by Yo La Tengo.

Each of these events is a highlight in its own right, and Lush’s stood out as special for all of the adoration.

Lush | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Lush | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Following an intense set from New Zealand vocalist Tamaryn, Lush spent about two hours catering to a room of longtime band devotees, and pieced together a patchwork setlist from their late ‘80s and early to mid ‘90s recordings. Although they featured two cuts from their new EP Blind Spot, they saliently avoided the more commercially successful britpop sounds of 1996’s Lovelife, save the hit single “Ladykillers,” in favor of tracks from their first EPs and early albums Spooky and Split. To be sure, this was a fan’s show.

Vocalist Miki Berenyi engaged those fans often last night, too, stopping to chat between songs, and teasing a fan in the front row who proudly traveled from Mexico for the show about the looming threat of a Trump presidency. Lamenting the restrictions imposed by maturity and the responsibilities of adulthood (aka kids back home in the UK), Berenyi apologized for the limited appearances of this tour. Still, it’s encouraging to see them together again, releasing new recordings, playing as tightly as though they’d never broken up, and reaching back at their shows for the material that seemed to make both the crowd and the band happiest.

Check out a gallery of photos from the show below, along with the setlist and a roundup of fan videos on YouTube.

Setlist
De-Luxe
Breeze
Kiss Chase
Hypocrite
Lovelife
Thought forms
Light from a Dead Star
Desire Lines
Lit Up
Scarlet
Etheriel
Undertow
For Love
Out Of Control
Ladykillers
Downer
Sweetness And Light

Encore 1
Lost Boy
Nothing Natural
Leaves Me Cold

Encore 2
Monochrome




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