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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Live + On Record: Lush - Live in Brooklyn, Mark Crozer And The Rels record review

Over a year ago came the announcement that a much clamored for reunion by one of the few remaining classic 90’s era dreamgaze pioneers (that had resisted up to this point) would in fact be happening. The tour dates were set and calendars were marked – Lush would be playing New York in September of 2016.


Those of us dedicated to this “beautiful noise” period of music had just experienced The Jesus and Mary Chain playing here, and now we had a whole year to look forward to this.


Sometime after tickets for the initial Terminal 5 show was put on sale for the 14th, a second show was added for the day before in Brooklyn at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, giving fans a choice of venues that suited them best. Although many no doubt went to both performances, attending their first NYC show in 20 years on September 13 created an additional level of historical importance.



Social Media anticipation continued to build, as planned gatherings with like-minded friends were hatched for some pre-show revelry.


Once the band hit the stage everyone in the audience were immediately transformed back to the golden era of heavy, hyper dreamy music.  The "beautiful noise" once more.

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Opening with one of their most popular and recognizable songs in “De-Luxe,” the intro chords initially build at a slower tempo than the studio version, before bass and drums enter the mix bringing everything up to speed and the audience now fully engaged.


Although we've gotten to know Phil King over the years as a touring member of The Jesus and Mary Chain, (and who is also featured in a very popular in-depth interview and career profile here on this site) he correctly stepped out of that support role to resume his rightful place as a full partner in Lush.

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The live show was all one could have hoped for.  One brilliant explosion of light and sound after another.


The central focus is as it always has been - the persona of Miki Eleonora Berenyi.


She effortlessly commanded the stage with charm (bantering with the audience on a few occasions) while going about the task of executing a set drawing heavily from their first two 4AD albums and early EP’s with a smattering from their later, crossover-to-Britpop hits.


Emma Anderson continues to provides essential harmony vocals and precise guitar melodies behind Miki’s shimmering 12 string chords.


Veteran drummer Justin Welch (a founding member of Elastica) masterfully delivered on all percussion duties.

A reverential moment occurred when the band played “Lost Boy” – a track from their recently released new EP “Blind Spot” live for the first time. Dedicating it to founding member/original drummer Chris Acland, whose 1996 suicide led to the eventual dissolution of the band at that time, Miki’s lyrics express the heartbreak of that loss.


Free roaming the venue, previous viewing locations (with fellow concert mates in full view) made for interesting images.



Perhaps its due to all the new bands that emulate and try to sound like them, but the music of Lush seems to have a timeless quality to it.

Listen to how their live sound fills up this high ceiling venue, allowing for both the songs intricacies and ambient overtones.



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The full Setlist played


With significant debuts and milestones achieved.



One of these can certainly be helpful in gaining access to opportunities.

Ultimately having an eye for the main chance is your best asset when doing the post-concert dance.


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With this North American leg of their tour now completed, the band have three major dates remaining in November playing the Iceland Airwaves Festival in Reykjavic, the Rolling Stone Weekender Festival in Germany before ending the month at the Academy in Manchester, UK.


Find out anything else about Lush here

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Long-time friends of this site Mark Crozer and the Rels have released a brand new 10 track album titled “Sunny Side Down.” Recorded at Mitch Easter's studio in North Carolina (where Mitch engineered and co-produced with the band) the legendary Lets Active frontman who also produced R.E.M.’s early breakthrough albums has captured Mark and The Rels at their best.


 There is an honest “live” quality to the recordings that allows the songs shine through. What you don’t get is artificial studio trickery or ridiculous autotune. The current pop airways are currently full of that (unfortunately) and it’s truly a breath of fresh air to hear something as true and organic as this. That said the sound quality is perfect and the songwriting superb. This is the true definition of “indie” (independently released) music.


An eerie mood is set within the pop confines of opening track “Haunted Head.” Though the 1-2, 1-2 chord progression moves things along with a mid-tempo pace, a disquieting sentiment shimmers within the sound. Describing those sleepless moments that “keeps me awake with thoughts and emotions” the memorable hook high-point “oh I think it’s alive” turns apprehension into beauty.



Although “Toxic Town” establishes a quicker stride, the overall wistful atmosphere evokes first-wave British invasion classics like Chad and Jeremy’s "A Summer Song" and “I Go to Pieces” by Peter and Gordon. The universal tale is told of desiring to leave a soul-stifling town that can only offer “sad memories and shells of burnt out factories.” The chorus provides emotional uplift via beautiful chord structure and lyrical hope indicating the “light beyond” and now being “a perfect day to make a getaway.”



The introspective disposition on “Corners Of Your Mind” pair gently strummed guitar against dramatic deep hall drum accents. “Glide like a bluebird climbing high, searching for sunshine” provide lyrical gravitas to a poetic daydream. With the full band joining in, familiar Crozer themes of “redemption” are revisited and how “life can take you way beyond” the limitations you put on yourself.


There are many more equally wonderful tracks on this record, all well worth checking out. Find out how to digitally acquire this as well as everything else from Mark and the Rels current catalog here.



An ultra-limited edition vinyl version of “Sunny Side Down” is in the works and will be released by Planting Seeds Records (PSR093). Keep an eye on their official site (and their Facebook, Twitter pages, etc) for more detailed information.


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 Previous features on this site about Mark Crozer and the Rels:

Bubblegum Track and Live Show Review

Late September Features: Mark Crozer and The Rels, etc.

Mark Crozer and the Rels - Album Review

International Jetsetters - Heart Is Black – Album Review

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Previous features on this site about Planting Seeds Records:





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13 comments:

Mirror said...

Jenna Emens-Escalera wrote:
on September 28 at 8:11pm

#CROMS 󾬖#WELOVELUSH

Great article! Great time!! Great friends and great memories brought us back to the 90's wave

Woo was great spending that show with ya bud.

#CROMS ❤️ #WeLoveLush

DaveCromwell said...

That we do, Jenna - and that we did!

Everything came together perfectly on this night.

Or, as I write in the feature there:

"The live show was all one could have hoped for. One brilliant explosion of light and sound after another."

Be sure to check out the Mark Crozer + The Rels record too. I've been a big fan of Mark's work for a while now, and want to make sure those quality songs are heard!

Mirror said...

Planting Seeds ‏@psrmusic Retweeted and Added:

ACE review from Croms!

Dave Cromwell @DaveCromwell
Review! @MarkCrozer + The Rels http://tinyurl.com/j4777o7 new album. @psrmusic #musicreviews #davecromwellwrites #sunnysidedown #plantingseed

Neil DelParto also wrote:

Great job, sir.

Thanks for the plug of our Planting Seeds Records label.

More info will be coming soon regarding the physical release of Mark Crozer and The Rels “Sunny Side Down” vinyl LP!

DaveCromwell said...

We DO have a bit of history with all of this, don't we Neil?

From discovering that initial Planting Seeds Release of Jim Reid’s “Freeheat” CD which served as a catalyst for all that followed.

That first JAMC reunion tour that made its way to New York in May of 2007 introduced us all to each other.

Then Mark got his solo band projects going with PSR solidly involved, and those of us in NY and LA chipping in as only we knew how.

Although Mark sat out of the 2012 JAMC tour to work on a number of other things, his return to the band in 2014, 2015 and currently (now on bass) is certainly a positive turn.

The “Sunny Side Down” vinyl LP release stands to be another decisive step in the right direction.

ViewFromSpookysDoghouse said...

The vocal delivery of Mark Crozer seems to be of the greatest of ease, as if he were breathing instead of singing into the microphone. There is no audible sign of suffering; no strain, no pain, no wear, no tearing of the vocal chords. It's really quite remarkable. Is it really that easy to sing? It seems miraculous. And joyful. And then that wonderful round-sounding bass guitar work throughout the tracks. Add to that some lyrical funny business about elephants on water skis, alien landings, and an ode to the colorless liquid found in blood and lymph that will have you laughing out loud. For real. A really good album. Thanks for the tip, Dave Cromwell.

DaveCromwell said...

I totally agree with you about Mark's easy going, breathy vocals, VFSD. I have no idea how much "effort" (or lack thereof) goes in to it, I only know how the results sound. Which of course is top-notch.

Not surprised you have picked out the bass playing as you frequently focus on that instrument. I like the observation "round-sounding" and agree there is a fullness to it that really enhances the songs.

Well done also in catching all those lyrical references that emphasize a cleverness and overall wit in the writing.

Mirror said...

Charlie Nieland commented:

With Lush the bass lines are a secret weapon. In Deluxe the bass is often changing the harmony implied by the guitars by playing notes other than the root. It’s so cool. It totally makes the chorus.

https://youtu.be/vCvhc2gRBM4

They have such a unique chemistry and energy. Their songs always have the coolest twists that make their drive and textures totally their own.

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Greg Fasolino commented:

Regarding that Lollapalooza Festival on Long Island back in the 90’s were you at the first day, or the second when the thunder and lightning during the end of Lush's set forced the cancellation of the rest of the festival?

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Vadim Baranov commented:

Lush’s guitar playing is rather straightforward. it's mostly a combination of Miki's 12th string and Emma's jaguar/strat. Just a lot of strumming :)

It's just like their vocals, harmonizing in the most interesting ways.


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Jeff Birgbauer commented:

Phil is the man

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@DaveCromwell
Buzzed from #Lush The dream lives on @lushbandtweets #dreampop #lushband #dreamgaze… instagram.com/p/BKXDeUGDEhO/
09:43 PM
Retweeted + Liked by Lush: Thoughtforms @lushfanofficial
To 2049 followers.


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Christian Bringhurst wrote:

Wow, you captured some great shots of Lush!

Cheers!

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miilk Tweeted:

15h: LUSH live show Review! @lushfansofficial @londonphilking @lushbandtweets #lushband #dreampop… https://www.instagram.com/p/BK9YlocDVGc/
Milk

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Philip King wrote:

Hi Dave,

Thanks a lot.

Will check it out.

All the best

Phil

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DaveCromwell said...

I know what you mean about the basslines creating new and interesting harmonics in the Lush songs, Charlie. When I mentioned this to Phil after the show he seemed pleased that listeners have picked up on this.

I attended that first day of Lollapalooza, Greg. I'm glad I did because a number of really great bands played after Lush including The Jesus & Mary Chain and Ministry (and also Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam). I would have been upset of all that got canceled.

Glad you like the photos Christian - and I agree Jeff - Phil IS "the man" (and thanks Phil!)

Mirror said...

Andrew Prinz (of the band Mahogany) wrote:

Rad! A great play by play — thank you. We visited with Mr King backstage for the Philly show — it was spine-tingling!! Honestly the new material was just perfect. We need a new double album from Lush now!!

It is sort of a dream situation — even 5 years ago if you told me Lush were reuniting I would have laughed, cos Robin Guthrie had been after Miki about it for years! Glad she changed her mind <3

DaveCromwell said...

Ah, so cool you were at the Philly show, Andrew. I told Phil directly after the show that this Lush performance was of the same high quality and “just as good” as all of the Mary Chain shows since their return as well.

I also got Miki to admit (since she was so hesitant for so many years) that “It wasn’t my idea” to do these reunion shows. I wonder WHO it really was that convinced her. Either way - I'm glad they did - as it was a totally wonderful experience.

Misty said...

The early 90’s was such a great time to be discovering new music. Back in those days MTV seemed to have bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and Lush on in constant rotation. It was great to see these UK bands taking elements from The Beach Boys and Ramones and adding dreamy levels of noise on top of this pop sound.

Lush also benefitted from having a glam female image to go along with their sound. Reading this show review brought me back to those days. I’m glad to see they are giving it another go.

Listening to Mark Crozer and The Rels new music made me nostalgic for an even earlier era of music. I like when artists can reflect the best elements from the past, but still keep things fresh and modern in their lyrics.

DaveCromwell said...

As far as I'm concerned the early 90's will always be the "golden age" of music, Misty. The level of creative interpretation regarding the rock genre during that time continues to influence what has followed in so many ways.

So much of the new music I review these days coming out of emerging artist hotbeds like Brooklyn appear to use those 90's building blocks as inspiration for their own material.

Other more experienced artists like Mark Crozer and The Rels (who are connected to that classic British "Beautiful Noise" sound in a number of ways) look back even further for inspiration.

What separates the quality work from the merely repetitive are the unique elements presented in these classic sounds.

Mirror said...

Mark Crozer posted:

MarkCrozer ‏@MarkCrozer
MarkCrozer Retweeted Dave Cromwell
Thanks for the great review @DaveCromwell !!

MarkCrozer added,

Dave Cromwell @DaveCromwell
Review! @MarkCrozer + The Rels http://tinyurl.com/j4777o7 new album. @psrmusic #musicreviews #davecromwellwrites #sunnysidedown #plantingseeds

MarkCrozer and Planting Seeds liked your Tweet
Review! @MarkCrozer + The Rels http://tinyurl.com/j4777o7 new album. @psrmusic #musicreviews #davecromwellwrites #sunnysidedown #plantingseeds pic.twitter.com/mlgSfze77d

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Vito Veii (@VitoVeii) posted on Twitter:

@DaveCromwell
Review! @MarkCrozer + The Rels tinyurl.com/j4777o7 new album. @psrmusic #musicreviews #davecromwellwrites #sunnysidedown #plantingseeds pic.twitter.com/mlgSfze77d

Retweeted by Vito Veii @VitoVeii
To 33,587 followers.