Dean Wareham, Ryder The Eagle @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK, 21st July, 2022 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, August 7th, 2022  

Dean Wareham, Ryder The Eagle, Galaxie 500

Dean Wareham, Ryder The Eagle @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK, 21st July, 2022,

Jul 25, 2022 Photography by Simon Hewitt Web Exclusive
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All good things come to those that wait, and with the enforced absence of live music due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Dean Wareham‘s eagerly anticipated return to Nottingham has been a long time coming. Originally scheduled for April 2022 then postponed two more times since, his long awaited tour finally hit UK stages earlier this month before calling in at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms on this balmy, summer’s evening. Already muted as a special occasion, not least because it will be the first opportunity to hear him play songs from last year’s excellent solo record I Have Nothing To Say To The Mayor Of LA alongside some of his previous works as a founder member of Galaxie 500, not least the band’s critically acclaimed second long player from 1989 On Fire, which Wareham play play in full (but not chronologically) later this evening.

First though, a few words about the opening act, Ryder The Eagle. Before tonight’s show it’s probably fair to say he wasn’t on many people’s radars. However, by the end there was a clamour for his services both front of stage and at the merchandise desk. Essentially the alias of Adrien Cassignol, a nomadic troubadour whose played with French hip hop ensemble Las Aves and Adam Green among a host of others. Dressed in a Mexican charro outfit while regaling tales of marriage breakdowns and American Dreams like some vaudeville hybrid of Meilyr Jones, Har Mar Superstar and Confidence Man. Ryder The Eagle is a captivating presence that demands your attention - literally - even if that means leaping into the audience then climbing onto the sound desk over the other side of the venue. Intrigued by his recorded output, I can confirm that his latest LP Follymoon is every bit as great as the comparisons garnered from his live show suggest, and would urge folks to check him out if you haven’t already done so.

Nevertheless, the number of people clamouring for a space down the front - many resplendent in Galaxie 500 t-shirts - suggests the wait is nearly over at the fourth time of asking. Flanked by long time musical partner and spouse Britta Phillips on bass, alongside guitarist Derek See and drummer Roger Brogan, also of LA experimental duo The Gentle Cycle, the latter also having played with Sonic Boom in Spectrum. Opening the set with five songs off Wareham’s most recent LP I Have Nothing To Say To The Mayor Of LA, a record that deserves its time in the spotlight equally as much as anything from its creator’s back catalogue. “The Past Is Our Plaything” kickstarts proceedings, its observational narrative providing a lavish introduction through a fanfarous “Robin & Richard” then solemn delivery of “The Last Word” before a momentous “Corridors Of Power” and elegant run through Lazy Smoke’s obscure but riveting “Under Skys” leads the way into Galaxie 500 territories.

Heralded by many critics as their finest hour, On Fire undoubtedly opened the door to brand new audiences around the world for Galaxie 500. Indeed, yours truly first caught their wares (and immediately fell in love) whilst they were supporting The Sundays (a show just as memorable for the headliners only playing three songs due to singer Harriet Wheeler coming down with a throat infection) at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic in February 1990. It was to be the only time I’d see them live, but the lasting impression of that show coupled with a recording output many of their peers would die for has cemented Galaxie 500’s status as one of the most groundbreaking acts from that era. So hearing the ten songs that make up On Fire one more time is a joyous - if sometimes poignant - occasion.

Preferring to mix up the running order a little from how its presented on record, “When Will You Come Home” swaps places with “Snowstorm” in the early part of the set while “Strange” takes last place for a rousing finale rather than the cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity” that closes the album. Each of its ten pieces delivered impeccably, Wareham’s unmistakeable vocal at the forefront throughout. Returning for two encores, the first of which sees a faithful rendition of Galaxie 500’s debut single “Tugboat” receive a multitude of whoops and cheers. The second taking Jonathan Richman’s “Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste” and making it his own in inimitable fashion.

Overall, Wareham and band provide a timely reminder of why he’s held in such high esteem, fusing artefacts from the past with some of his finest works this century. Here’s to his next visit.




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