LOS ANGELES -- Love and Rockets said "no" to nostalgia as they closed out their 14-year career with a farewell show Monday night that focused on material from their latest album, Lift.
"An end and a beginning," bassist David J said as the show's last song, "No New Tale to Tell," hit its final note. The psychedelic rock trio only acknowledged twice that they were calling this their final gig.
If the band wasn't dwelling on goodbyes, fans were.
"I'm crushed, heartbroken, ravaged, wracked and minutes away from major grieving," Chrissie Johnston, 26, said before the show. Dressed in solid black with her hair covered in a black lace wrap, Johnston said she was "using the widow look because it's the closest parallel I can make to this."
Another fan simply held up a sign that read, "Thank You."
The band, which comprised three-quarters of the pioneering goth group Bauhaus, announced two weeks ago that this show, at the Roxy Theatre, would be its last. Frontman Daniel Ash plans to pursue film-scoring work, while David J (born David J. Haskins) works on a solo album and drummer Kevin Haskins concentrates on composing, remixing and programming.
Love and Rockets formed in 1985 after an aborted attempt to reunite Bauhaus, which had dissolved two years earlier. Bauhaus reunited to tour last summer. In October, Love and Rockets released Lift, their seventh album.
With the exception of the T. Rex cover "20th Century Boy," they drew entirely from Lift during their main set Monday. Beneath colored beams and flashing strobes, Love and Rockets showcased their hard-rocking musicianship against countercurrents of programmed sounds.
They opened with a sprawling version of "My Drug" and blasted out one Lift tune after another: "Delicious Ocean," "Holy Fool" (RealAudio excerpt), "Deep Deep Down" and "Party's Not Over." Some fans took the setlist as a sign that Love and Rockets knew they were ending on a creative high note.
"They're only breaking up because they made a really great record that didn't go anywhere," Roky Manson, 28, said. Sales of Lift were disappointing.
"We haven't heard one old song and that set was amazing," Manson added as the crowd waited for the band to return for the encore.
They returned three times, but there was a significant pause before they came back at all. When the trio finally returned to the stage, J explained, "We're just being 'Spinal Tap'-y because we got locked in the dressing room. We had to kick the door down."
Finally making traces to their past, they began the encore set with the 1986 single "Kundalini Express." Former Jane's Addiction drummer Steve Perkins made a surprise appearance on tabla drums for a version of "Yin & Yang the Flower Pot Man." That song, during which the crowd sang along on the line "beauti-beauti-beautiful," combined a swirl of programmed and electronic sounds with Perkins' breakneck tabla pounding; by the end he was playing on his knees.
Perkins joined the band again during the second encore set for a rendition of the Rolling Stones' "2000 Light Years From Home." That was followed with a cover of the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" -- Love and Rockets' first single -- with its line, "and the band played on."
When the trio made a final return to the stage, drummer Haskins stood before his brother J's microphone and said, "I want to thank all you guys who have supported us. We love you all." Haskins then got behind the drum kit for the anthemic "No New Tale to Tell," which J dedicated to his wife.
"It was beautiful, damn near transcendent," James Matthews, 30, said afterward. "But they'll be back."