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3rd September 1991 London, Marquee Club 'Band Explosion'


Line up: 

Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell, Simon Scott, Christian Savill, Nick Chaplin


Catch The Breeze
Spanish Air
She Calls

Known recordings: 

Soundboard recording circulate.


Melody Maker 14/9/1991

The Marquee, London.

CRAP intros to reviews part one: "Laugh?", my Russian friend said. "I haven't had so much fun since the hardliners took over the TV network and began broadcasting sombre music and Open University repeats". Or, part two: Rumours that a letter from the local council urging all the bands to swear at the audience in a vain attempt to get them to say anything at all proved unfounded. But in a medium where interaction is limited to the brevity of a statement from the BCCI's lawyers or an LBC Yes/No phone vote, Slowdive won tonight's war of words with merely a simple "Hello" and a joke - "This one's called 'Slowdive'... oh, no it's not!" Axl F***ing Rose has nothing to worry about.

This little gathering, mainly for the benefit of Radio One or GLR or Sky or something, highlights the problematic stage The Scene That Celebrates Itself has reached. Not even The Cure could effectively translate the gothic beauty of their essentially insular grief to the forced atmosphere of a live setting until they had enough spondulicks to play barns with state-of-the-art technology.

Ask anyone to even shine, not to mention shimmer or glow in a tobacco sauna like the Marquee and you're onto a loser. Not even the return of Jesus accompanied by the Hallelujah Chrous miked up to Killdozer's PA could turn this overcrowded slum into, ahem, a s***c c****ral of s***d.

Nevertheless, if moose are anything to go by, reports of The Scene's expiry have been greatly exaggerated - even if it has been forcibly relocated to South Mimms(y) by the backlash. Stripped of their customary light and film show for the benefit of television, Moose, fill their plunge into darkness with even more strangeness. The thing that separates them from the blissful prettiness of much of the Scene is the tangible air of dispossessed menace they bring to their sadness - the lumbering bass of "Adam And Eve" or the dentist-drill guitar of "Boy" and the epic closer, "Do You Remember?" - the deafening sound you hear before the anasthetic drags you under, over and out.

Slowdive have become the chief whipping boys and girls of the backlash largely because thos huge breathing Rothkoesque blocks of coloursound that characterised their EPs are missing or diluted on the new pastel "Just For A Day" LP - something they themselves seem to admit tonight as they stick close to the monolithic granite of "She Calls" or the guitar-smeared sodium blues and reds of "Morningrise".

Last week, someone called Everett true registered mild surprise in his Reading review that Chapterhouse were on the main stage and not in the Mean Fiddler Tent. I register surprise that they weren't in the comedy tent. They say they're the product of the last 30 years of music. Correct: they'll certainly have nothing to do with the next 30. They're good copy but bad copyists, chancers who can't decide whether to be The Cure ("Breather"), EMF, or Spinal Tap ("Autosleeper"). They've listened carefully to the best bits of all those bands, discarded them, and used what's left. Worse still, it's all stuck round a camp, insipid beat so anaemic you could strangle it with two fingers without spilling your pint. Chapterhouse are so bad they make Blur sound okay.

In recent months, the components of the Scene have noticable stopped celebrating each other as they begin to realise that they're not gonna be around next year. Of tonight's, only Moose look set to last the course.


This piece, entitled 'Scene It All Before' appeared in the September 14 1991 issue of Melody Maker. The reviewer was Mat Smith. Computerised for Slowdive - A New Dream by Darren (MusicManic).


From user ggben1972 in YouTube:

This show was part of a few gigs for Band Explosion 91 at the Marquee in London. A number of bands including Chapterhouse and 530 played along with early Manics headlining. Two TV shows were on BBC2, they were also live on the radio"