In the early ’90s, shoegaze had an underground appeal that ended up becoming an influential blueprint for many bands being formed today. And for me, personally, songs by the Catherine Wheel, My Bloody Valentine, and Slowdive were the soundtrack to relationships, careers, and those ups and downs in life — peaks and valleys like the rhythmic washes of guitar or the lilt of those harmonies buried beneath.
And I still find myself going back to those same sounds, like an old book you’re drawn to again and again, as I did with Slovedive in a live performance at Rams Head Live on Thursday.
When Slowdive released their self-titled album this past May, I was curious. I’ve seen bands reunite for all the wrong reasons, and fans can certainly tell. But listening to Slowdive, the band’s first album in 22 years, you can tell this is something new! The new album is clearly the band you loved, but songs like “Star Roving,” “Sugar for the Pill,” and “Falling Ashes” are some of the strongest in their repertoire.
On Thursday at Rams Head Live, Rachel Goswell (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Neil Halstead (vocals/guitar), Christian Savill (guitar), Simon Scott (drums), and Nick Chaplin (bass) brought not only the glorious sounds of Slowdive back to Baltimore but they brought with them a bevy of brilliant lights and a backdrop that mimicked perfectly the sounds emanating from the stage. Each song was bathed in a new kaleidoscope of flashes and pinwheels of color.
Although Slowdive’s trajectory has varied over the years, they remain as important as ever. During the song “Sugar for the Pill,” images of large pills with the designation SD 1989 danced on the huge screen behind the stage; 1989 being the birth year of the band — a testament to the staying power of the music they make.
Here is the recently released official video of “Don’t Know Why” from the album Slowdive by Slowdive on YouTube:
The setlist included:
Crazy For You
Catch the Breeze
No Longer Making Time
Blue Skied and Clear
When the Sun Hits
Sugar for the Pill
Golden Hair (Syd Barrett)
Don’t Know Why
Slowdive are currently on tour. Definitely check them out here.
Here are some pictures of Slowdive performing at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on Nov. 16, 2017. All pictures copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.