Nostalgia can be a deceptive, erm, canine of the female persuasion. I’ve often found myself bemoaning the absence of stuff I used to love in my teenage years. Case in point, the Japanese cartoons all ‘80s kids watched on Italian TV, from Lady Oscar to Holly e Benji.
Viewed from behind my rose-tinted glasses, anything that manages to recreate that bittersweet sense of nostalgia can never be anything but superb. But as explained above, nostalgia can be a deceptive so-and-so. This fact was brought home to me when I switched on the telly while having coffee and the remote control landed me bang into a Pollon episode. It was like fate handing me a nostalgia-flavoured chocolate. So I decided to take twenty and chill.
And what a mistake that was. Barely five minutes of inanities had passed before I was asking myself how the hell I managed to sit through entire episodes of that drivel when I was twelve. One of my best childhood memories ruined in five minutes flat.
So yes, nostalgia, you certainly have a lot to answer for. Which is why I greeted the news that Maltese indie band Lumiere – which enjoyed its heyday some six years ago and whose gigs are still spoken of in tones of quasi-reverence – was staging a one-off reunion gig last week, with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, how cool was it to get another chance to experience a band that had been one of the main movers in our fledgling indie scene? And whose gigs were always, invariably, a total blast… On the other hand – would the band manage to recreate the same chemistry? And was it worth the risk of ruining another beautiful memory? Six years ago, the news that Lumiere were disbanding was announced right after the band released a double album, leaving fans extremely disappointed. The band members have since moved on to new (and equally awesome) music projects; how would they manage to go back to a sound that was part of their past?
Friday night found me – and a couple hundred other long-time fans – thronging V-Gen in Paceville. Skimmed (pictured above), whose performances are always so rousing, provided a great opening. Needless to say, when it was time for the lads to take to the stage, expectations were sky-high. Sadly, the sound gremlins pretty much ruined the opening song and almost had me re-affirming my belief that nostalgic trips down memory lane are always a bad idea.
But I was wrong: a five minute break and a pow-wow with the gods of sound later, things were back on track. To be blunt, the sound never reached 100% – but such is the awesomeness of Lumiere that the crowd couldn’t give a flying duck and duly proceeded to have a blast.
By the time the third song hit, it was obvious that the band not only still has the chemistry but also that everyone present would have loved nothing more than an impromptu announcement of a permanent reunion. When my favourite came on – From the Skin on an Apple to the Skin on my Bones – the crowd was pretty much in a frenzy.
And, I’m happy to report, said crowd included not only the old-timers but also the younger indie crowd for whom this was the first experience of Lumiere. One highlight of the evening was definitely Adrian Mizzi’s guitar solo. Another highlight was hearing Mario Vella, of Brikkuni fame, singing in English. A third highlight was the realisation that hey, my memories of this band were entirely justified.
And nostalgia doesn’t always necessarily have to be that unmentionable quadrupe of the female sex.
PS Sorry about the uber bad quality of the photo – I guess my mobile phone camera just wasn’t up to speed!
This post was published on The TV Guide (The Times of Malta)