“Wow, you guys look the same,” Lotion frontman Tony Zajkowski exclaimed at Mercury Lounge on Wednesday night. “So does the club… I mean, some of the same people still work here!”
Back in the ’90s, Lotion were Lower East Side mainstays, with Mercury Lounge and Luna Lounge as their regular haunts. This, however, was the first NYC show in over a decade for the band, that called it quits in 1999, not too long after the release of their third album, The Telephone Album. Beloved by those in the know, Lotion were one of those bands who shoulda been big and despite all the great songs, critical accolades, Sassy Magazine “Cute Band Alert” status, tours with Pavement, and getting reclusive author Thomas Pynchon to write the liner notes to 1996’s Nobody’s Cool, they never quite got their break.
It sounded like no time had passed, though, when Lotion took the stage on Wednesday, with the band — Zajkowski, bassist Bill Ferguson, his brother Jim Ferguson (wearing a kilt) on guitar, and drummer Rob Youngberg — playing like it was 1997, nailing the harmonies, angular riffage, unusual time changes/signatures and occasional rock star moves. Their set included most of their best-loved classics, “Head,” “Tear,” “Dr Link,” “Marijuana Vietnam,” “My Name is Prince,” “Paas,” “Blind for Now,” and more. “Rock Chick” was the only glaring omission.
Back in the day, Lotion were famous for their covers, and they kept up the tradition by performing an impressive version of The Who’s mini rock opera “A Quick One, While He’s Away” — all 10 complex minutes of it — which could not have been easy to learn. After requests from the crowd, they added The Telephone Album‘s biggest earworm, “Feedback Queen” and then ended the evening “Love Theme for Santo Gold” and “She is Weird City” from their debut album, Full Isaac. The band were clearly having a blast and the audience I think would’ve stayed all night, but Tony said “Let’s grab a drink and talk” and that was that.
Check out a few pics, video and their Mercury Lounge setlist below.
The impetus for the reunion was Dromedary Records’ 30th anniversary this past weekend, which also featured reunion sets from Madder Rose, Das Damen and more. Lotion have one more show to go, playing Friday (9/22) at Main Drag Music. Tickets are still available and you should go.
SETLIST: Lotion @ Mercury Lounge 9/20/2023
The New Timmy
The Sad Part
I Love Me (Vol 1)
Blind for Now
My Name is Prince
A Quick One
Love Theme from Santo Gold
She is Weird City