Dean Wareham Lizard Lounge, March 21, 2008
Dean & Britta
The line I’d been expecting to find stretching down Mass Ave from the Lizard Lounge entrance was nowhere to be seen before Friday’s free 8 pm performance by Dean Wareham, former frontman of Boston’s now legendary proto-indie trio Galaxie 500 and then long-time leader of the NYC-based Luna. Had the masses of fans already been politely packed into the tiny basement club and the overflow turned away? Or could it be that with only a book — the newly published memoir Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance (Penguin) — to promote plus a newly released EP of remixes by Dean & Britta (his new vehicle with his wife, Luna bassist Britta Phillips), there simply wasn’t that much interest?
Whatever, the Lizard was not at capacity when a bedheaded Wareham made his way to the microphone to begin the first part of his set — entertaining, often self-depreciating excerpts from Black Postcards that detailed the early days of Galaxie 500, the playful bickering that took place among the members of Luna on the road, a crazy Japanese fan with a penchant for sending Wareham cryptic postcards, and a poignant account of a tawdry one-night stand in Mallorca that took place during his first marriage. But when he solicited questions from the rapt audience, it became clear that he has his share of hardcore fans who’d happily line up to buy the book and have it signed by Wareham — which is the real point of these things.
Having explained that he’d written the memoir — without the aid of a ghostwriter — as an alternative to the “puff pieces” that masquerade as rock bios, Wareham grabbed a guitar and was joined by Phillips on bass for the highlight of the night: two Galaxie 500 songs that he hasn’t played publicly in quite some time, “Blue Thunder,” with its keening falsetto outro, and the lovelorn “Hearing Voices.” When he dropped a kazoo he’d pulled out of his pocket for a solo, he simply apologized for the gaffe and then, with the crowd’s encouragement, continued with the song. After all, he was among friends.
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