“It’s great to be back!” Guy Chadwick was beaming Friday night at The House of Love‘s show at Gramercy Theater. The UK band’s last NYC show was just about 30 years ago — October 30, 19992 at Times Square venue The Academy, just a year before the band would break up. Chadwick reformed The House of Love in 2003 but it’s taken nearly two more decades, a new lineup of the band, and couple of pandemic postponements to get them back in North America. Chadwick was very happy to be playing to a room full of enthusiastic fans, many of whom thought they’d never get the chance to see them.
The House of Love have a new album, A State of Grace, and they played a few songs off of that, but the bulk of the setlist came from their classic first three albums. They didn’t make us wait to get to the good stuff, either, kicking things off with “Road” and “Christine” off their 1988 Creation Records debut that inspired more than a few OG shoegaze bands.
Wunderkind guitarist Terry Bickers, who returned to HoL in the ’00s but was not part of the new album or on this tour (he is not fond of flying I hear), was missed but current lead guitarist Keith Osborne is more than able, recreating not just the atmospherics that gave the band’s early material its dreamy quality, but also the towering rock side of their early-’90s tracks like “I Don’t Know Why I Love You.” His son, Harry, was on bass and brought lots of energy, and new drummer Hugo Degenhardt hit hard when needed and had a lithe touch on the gentler material like “The Girl with the Loneliest Eyes” and “The Beatles and the Stones,” which were both among the night’s many highlights.
The single best moment of the Gramercy show, though, was the final song of the encore, a deep cut from their debut album, “Love in a Car” — a song that starts gently and methodically builds steam and volume until, live, transcending into shoegaze euphoria as the band hammer out its three chords for an extended, noisy bliss-out finish.
This tour is a lean, tight ship and not like the early-’90s when the band traveled with an arsenal of instruments. When Chadwick broke a string mid-set, he borrowed Keith Osborne’s guitar to perform a song solo — “Soft & Slow” from his underrated solo album Lazy, Soft and Slow — while Keith changed the string. No roadies this time but The House of Love shine on regardless.
You can check out video from House of Love’s Gramercy Theater show below. I couldn’t find a full setlist from the show, but it was pretty close to their Philly show, which kicked off the tour, and you can check that out below.
The House of Love’s tour continues Monday (10/17) in Alston, MA and from there heads to Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Pioneertown. All dates are listed below.
SETLIST The House of Love @ Underground Arts, Philadelphia 10/13/2022
The Beatles and the Stones
The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes
Destroy The Heart
A State of Grace
Burn Down The World
I Don’t Know Why I Love You
Love In A Car
The House of Love – 2022 Tour Dates
OCT 17 Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA
OCT 18 Théâtre Fairmount Montréal, QC
OCT 19 Lee’s Palace Toronto, ON
OCT 22 Magic Bag Ferndale, MI
OCT 23 Lincoln Hall Chicago, IL
OCT 25 The Chapel San Francisco, CA
OCT 26 Harlow’s Sacramento, CA
OCT 29 Regent Theater Los Angeles, CA
OCT 30 Pappy and Harriets Pioneertown Palace Pioneertown, CA