The La’s remain a phantom on the American music scene

Lee Mavers of The La's

We are gutted. Completely. How could it happen that Lee Mavers, the voice of The La’s, could destroy our hopes of seeing the band in New York City?

One-album-wonders from Liverpool (yes, it’s not just the hometown of The Beatles), The La’s — or perhaps more specifically, lead vocalist Lee Mavers and a band of merry hired guns — were supposed to show up at Webster Hall in Manhattan’s East Village for a long-awaited show on March 12.

But an unhappy email arrived in our inbox on Thursday:

“It is with regret that The La’s have had to cancel their show at the Webster Hall on Monday, March 12th, 2012. Unfortunately, front man Lee Mavers has damaged the tendons in his index (playing) finger.  He has been to see a doctor and been informed that it will not have recovered in time for his New York show.”

Sure, refunds are forthcoming. But so what. What now?

“I’m crushed about this. Really,” says one fan.

If you have been avoiding music since about 1990, here’ s a quick history of The La’s, courtesy the Bowery Presents website:

“The La’s,” the self-titled album by The La’s, was the only studio release from the Liverpudlian four piece, released in 1990, but it earned them a place in the history books of British music and inspired a generation of bands, from Oasis and The Charlatans to Pete Doherty. It included “There She Goes”, the group’s biggest hit and one of the most memorable anthems of the early ’90s, and “Timeless Melody”. A deluxe edition of The La’s was released on 7 April 2008.

All of the songs on “The La’s” were written by Lee Mavers between 1986 and 1987 and after signing to Go! Discs in 1987 and for the next three years The La’s worked with several producers to record their debut album, including John Porter, Gavin MacKillop, John Leckie, Bob Andrews, Jeremy Allom and Mike Hedges. The final sessions for the album were recorded December 1989–February 1990 at the Eden Studios, London with producers Steve Lillywhite and Mark Wallis. “There She Goes” is remixed version of the original single recording produced by Bob Andrews in 1988.

The album was released in 1990 on Go! Discs in the United Kingdom and in 1991 on London Records in the United States. The album was praised by critics and embraced by fans. It was the result of nearly three years in the studio with a string of acclaimed producers. Each attempted to capture the sound sought by talented perfectionist Lee Mavers, the lead singer and principal songwriter of the band. Extensive promotional tours of Europe and the United States ensued and included their debut US television appearance with a live performance on the David Letterman show.

Sixpence None The Richer scored a hit in the Billboard Hot 100 with a cover of the band’s track “There She Goes.” The original track has also featured in many movie and TV soundtracks including The Parent Trap, Fever Pitch, Gilmore Girls and So I Married an Axe Murderer.

The band’s appearance was to be part of the first New York Sound City festival, a one-day extension of a Liverpool-originated festival described by its organizers thus:

The inaugural New York Sound City (NYSC)will take place on Monday 12th March 2012 as a one day and night music event.Designed by Sound City (the team behind innovative boutique events in Dubai, Norway and their home city of Liverpool) NYSC will feature key public and media partners from both the UK and US.

“Sound City has established itself as the coolest city centre festival and business conference in the UK. In the short space of 4 years we have delivered our bumper boutique events in Norway, Dubai, Texas and our home city of Liverpool. The UK businesses, individuals and artists we have showcased and assisted have gone onto generate over £12 million of real money for the UK music and digital economy. We do not mess about. For us to partner up with New York is the next logical step. Liverpool and New York have always shared a special relationship with each other. Two of the world’s biggest cities and both synonymous with art, music and pop culture. This is the first announcement in what is going to be an exciting time for the growth of our strong brand.” David Pichilingi CEO Sound City

Alas, it’s not to be after all.

The question remains — given that the band never properly toured here back in the day — will The La’s ever get a proper New York City headlining gig?

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