Dean and Britta play Galaxie 500

by Don Quan

At a time when many '90s indie acts are joining in on the nostalgia show circuit, it seems about right that one of the more influential and overlooked bands should have their canon revisited. Dean Wareham, founding member/guitarist/singer of Galaxie 500 appeared in Taipei Saturday night alongside his wife Britta Phillips on bass and Jason Lawrence on drums to feature his old band's songs.

Galaxie 500, Dean and BrittaGalaxie 500, Dean and Britta

Photo(s) by Don Quan - © 2008-2014

While it was not the original lineup, the rhythm section was quite faithful in reproducing the sound of those three classic albums that Galaxie 500 released before abruptly disbanding. Phillips' bass parts were note for note, as were Lawrence's drum fills and patterns. The sound engineers at the venue did a great job trying to mimic the original recordings, adding just the right amount of reverb and echo to the mix.

The show started considerably later than the announced time of 8:00 PM. There was very little banter; too many songs to get through this evening. They opened the set with the first two songs from their debut Today, leading me to believe they were going to play this album chronologically in its entirety (a common trend amongst the 'nostalgia' tours lately). However, by the third and fourth songs, it was evident they were going to sample from all their recordings. Most of the choices were obviously the well-known material, and included their post-punk dirge version of Jonathan Richman's "Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste" and a pristine rendition of Yoko Ono's "Listen, The Snow Is Falling" featured on Galaxie's album This Is Our Music.

After running through thirteen tracks within an hour and a half, they left the stage briefly, and returned to perform a two-song encore. The first song, "I'll Keep It With Mine" was from Dean & Britta's latest project 13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol's Screen Tests, and was the evening's only deviation from the Galaxie theme. The final song, and their third cover of the night, was Joy Division's "Ceremony".

For fans who missed them the first time around, a show such as this is a most welcome event. Galaxie 500, although together for a relatively brief time, have been cited as very influential on many '90s bands, and lauded as one of the progenitors of the so-called 'slowcore' movement. Regardless of accolades, the most revealing thing is that even twenty years later, the music still sounds vibrant, fresh and most of all, important.

Galaxie 500, Dean and BrittaGalaxie 500, Dean and Britta

Photo(s) by Don Quan - © 2008-2014

Don Quan is an independent filmmaker, proprietor of The Mercury Bar in Kaohsiung and longtime supporter of indie music in Taiwan. When he grows up, he wants to play in a rock and roll band.

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