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ECHO AND BUNNYMEN ROMANCE FANS

Echo & the Bunnymen hopped into Irvine Meadows on Saturday night, offering a healthy retrospective of their career. These formerly strident and determined harbingers of post-punk Angst have increasingly drifted toward ethereal, expansive romanticism. There’s the rub--the Bunnymen may be making better-produced records and interesting videos, but the effusive prettiness of latter-day Bunny tunes like “Bring On the Dancing Horses” sounded hollow and wan Saturday, while the video screen above the stage projected more colorful imagery than the five men below it.

Whatever happened to that tough, anxious Liverpool band that tried to capture the mysticism and intensity of peak-era Doors? The new material sounds striking (if familiar), and singer Ian McCulloch is increasingly personable (if decreasingly on key). But the Bunnymen, having gone from the gray trench-coat crowd to pretty ‘n’ pink teens, need to find a way to rejuvenate instead of replicate.

Australian group the Church opened with a strong, churning set of ‘60s-flavored garage-rock with subdued vocals.


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