You are here

Slowdive

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

Artist:

Line up: 

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

Setlist: 

Slowdive
Catch The Breeze
Spanish Air
Avalyn
She Calls

Ticket: 
Known recordings: 

Soundboard recording circulate.

Reviews: 

Melody Maker 14/9/1991

Chapterhouse/Slowdive/Moose.
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.

End.

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).

Video: 
Notes: 

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"

27th July 1991 Slough, Upton Park 'Slough Festival'

Artist:

Line up: 

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

Setlist: 

Slowdive
Spanish Air
Primal
Catch the breeze
Brighter
Morningrise
She calls
Avalyn

Advert: 
Support acts: 

The Slough Festival featured The Fall, Ride, Slowdive, Curve, The Mock Turtles, Chapterhouse, Revolver, Thousand Yard Stare, Ratcat and Soul Family Sensation.

Known recordings: 

Audience video (see below) recording circulates.

Reviews: 

MM 3/8/91
The Slough Festival

SLOWDIVE are pretty much a disaster. Under smoke and lights, emerging from the dark in some concert hall, they can assume the fascinating hypnotism of mantra. But exposed blinking to daylight, their magic dissolved. Poor Rachel sang so out-of-tune throughout that, although these things aren't supposed to matter in the hey-anything-goes wacky world of post-mod rock, it was frankly painful. "Catch The Breeze" just about survived the aural autopsy but "Morningrise" died and only Rachel's neat op-art dress and the unveiling of some new material ("Primal" and "Bright" or "Brighter") held our attention. I'm reliably and repeatedly informed they were incandescent (I think that's the word everybody keep susing) supporting Chapterhouse recently, so this was probably a one-off stinker, best forgotten.

NME 10/8/91
The Slough Festival

SLOWDIVE meanwhile are a big surprise, importantly, because, after all the pisparaging comments about Shoegazers, they are acquiring some identity. And what an identity it is... bot unlike, wait for it... Altered Images! How great is that? Rachel, dressed as a Modette, stands out front like Clare Grogan, swinging her arms around and looking impish, mischievous even. The crowd look wholly bemused, as the boys produce that whirly drone of sound that characterises their records, like 'Morningrise' and the climax to the set, 'Avalyn'. They waft dreamily around the field, and do something which sounds like 'I Could Be (Un)Happy' slowed down 1000 times.

These reviews were computerised for Slowdive - A New Dream by Darren

Notes: 

From the Creation Records site: "We were rubbish and there were a lot of Thousand Yard Stare T-Shirts there. It was quite distressing" (Christian Savill)

Acknowledgements: 

Advert source Breaking More Waves on Twitter

23th June 1991 Manchester, The Boardwalk

Artist:

Line up: 

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

Setlist: 

Unknown.

Advert: 
Support acts: 

Revolver

Reviews: 

Slowdive/Revolver The Boardwalk, Manchester

REVOLVER singer Mat leaps up on stage in leather trousers, yells "Kick It!" and launches into a bloodcurdling Joan Jett number, culminating in a screamed "We live in urban hell! We destroy rock'n'roll!" Uh, sorry. Wrong concert. Actually he sort of shuffles on, his improbably sheep-like bowlcut hiding his frightened little eyes, attempts a mark Gardnew pout and mumbles "This one's called 'Crimson' or 'Wave'. Or 'Painting Pictures'". Or something. Two fey verses are followed by the noisy bit (Revolver own every effects pedal mummy can buy), by two more verses etc, just like Ride's glorious "Dreams Burn Down", only nothing like it at all. The next one features a "Shimmering" into puntuated by a crashing Mondays drumbeat. It's called "Jewel". Fine. Except that Chapterhouse have already recoded it (they called it "Pearl").

This is alarming. We appear to be dealing with a generation of bands who have heard My Bloody Valentine's copyists without actually listening to the great band themselves. No, Paul Lester, another one of these bands deosn't make the world a better place. Fancying the audience isn't enough any more. We're talking seriously deminishing returns. Multiple (de)generation photocopies. Come on, kids! Chapterdrive and Slowmoose aren't the only options! YOU CAN BE ANYTHING! There are so many possibilities! Jane's Addiction, World Of Twist, Cranes, 808 State, Primal Scream, Manic Street preachers, Massive Attack, Young Gods... Or all at once! Or skip the present and dig around in car boot sales! Or don't be in a rock band at all. There are other ways to get a girlfriend.

Take a sample lyric: "I love you more than I'm letting on..." For f***'s sake, get a life! It's a sick world out there, and you're writing Hallmark greetings cards, Listen boys, leave university (Revolver are freshers at Queen Mary College), experience a few extremes! Then write some songs. If they're still crap you can always do an MA. Don't take it personally. Don't hate me because I'm the one to tell you. You know I'm right, and so do the more intelligent among your audience. You'll thank me one day.

Bands like Revolver have turned the whole noise/beauty interface into just another style. Like rhythm and blues. It's become possible to just go to a gig. To see a band. Truth is, we're in a 167/1977 situation, where everyone's mastered the sound of the moment (or, to be precise, the sound of 1988's "isn't Anything" - an album which should have been advertised with the slogan "One day, all bands will sound this way"), but only a handful know the way forward.

Revolver, like so many others, are hooked up on a major safety catch. Loaded? I doubt it. Half-cocked, I'm afraid. WHO KILLED IMAGINATION?

Take a deep breath. And then Slowdive go and blow my whole argument simply by being brilliant, wonderful, beautiful, and as if you'd never heard those words before. Slowdive are the final dream of a pill-cupboard suicide. Only the young and beautiful can carry off this terrible sadness with such glamour. Beacause only the young and beautiful have no right. This is the unacknowledged debt owed to Goth by The Scene That Suffocates Itself (Slowdive are named after a Siouxsie single, Rachel used to be a Reading Gothchick before she went au naturel). A few less skulls and bats, a bit more echo on the spiralling mock-eastern guitar lines, but the shadow cast by The Cure's "100 Years", Sisters of Mercy's "Reptile House" of The Banshees' "Overground" is long.

Rachel coos meaninglessly while the one with the Brian Jone haircut (they all have Brian Jones haircuts) does the Sonny to her Cher. Slowdive have got all the angles covered. Mercilessly perfect, and, er, effortlessly cool. If you can turn a blind ear to the enrmous cliches they deal in, Slowdive can take you higher than the sun.

By the third song I decide to buy a tee-shirt (only arselickers get things for free). By the time "Avalyn" has destroyed my critical faculties (Slowdive may be on the pastoral extreme, but this doesn't make them placid), pearly dewdrops are dropping from the ceiling.

These (here's the one I've been saving up) are sub-aqua lullabies. So i;ll let another one slip through the doors of my heart. But this could be the last time.

This piece, entitled 'Falling Upwards' appeared in the June 29 1991 issue of Melody Maker. The reviewer was Simon Price. Article computerised for Slowdive - A New Dream by Darren (MusicManic)

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Slowdive