Slowdive in Singapore – Live Review


Singapore-based Something You Said correspondent, Desmond Chan, checked out Slowdive who are touring in their original lineup after a 20-year hiatus [long live the 90s]:

Lately, Singapore has seen a real boom in terms of quality bands coming down to perform. The latest was Slowdive, brought over by Symmetry Enterntainment. Thank god for companies like them. My biggest initial question however, was: how exactly does one prepare for a shoegaze gig? The most obvious way was unfortunately not available (for myself at least), and I was quite curious to see how the crowd would be. Considering that Slowdive is a pretty old band, and the genre of shoegaze is neither popular, modern, cool or particularly exciting, the crowd was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. There were definitely some diehard fans in the crowd (though a select minority for sure), thrilled to witness the original line-up of vocalist and guitarist Neil Halstead (wearing a The Stooges shirt. Awesome.), vocalist and guitarist Rachel Goswell, guitarist Christian Savill, bassist Nick Chaplin and drummer Simon Scott.

The night took a little while to get going, and the band seemed to take a few songs to really get into their groove. Also, the sound man definitely took about 20 minutes to warm up before the sound was adequately loud enough. And once it was at a sufficient audible level, the set really hit its stride, with Slowdive playing some of their classic hits like When the Sun Hits and, 40 Days. Soaring vocal and guitar harmonies, atmospheric soundscapes and lush reverb, it all made for a pretty trippy experience. It was brilliant.

They’re one of those live acts that is probably best enjoyed with your eyes closed, to really lose yourself in the music and to soak it all up. The highlight of the night for me was the painfully haunting, Dagger played during the encore. Unfortunately the one persistent issue all night was the fact that Goswell’s vocals were never loud enough, which is really unfortunate because she has such a beautifully haunting voice.

In all, it was a really enjoyable gig even with my unfamiliarity with the band and genre. The music, while definitely dated in its sound, nevertheless possessed a timeless and ethereal quality, capturing my imagination, and slowly but surely capturing my heart. And no doubt they captured the hearts of many, especially those who have waited so long to see Slowdive live in the flesh. They are definitely going into my regular iTunes rotation now.

Finally, from observing the crowd I’ve compiled a list of ways to groove to Slowdive:
1. The yes. Nod your head. Yes, yes. (spotted: quite a few in the crowd)
2. The no. Shake your head. No no no. (spotted: dude next to me)
3. The worm. A lot of body rocking. (spotted: a couple of people)
4. The shaggy. Only works with a full head of shaggy hair and some serious neck muscles. (spotted: one)
5. Happy Feet. Lots of leg shaking and gentle nodding. Very tiring, high change of noticeable back pains post-concert. (Spotted: a few here and there. Also, me)
6. The Stone. Stand largely still with slight swaying. Clap at end of each song. (spotted: most of the crowd, unfortunately. But I’m not too surprised, it’s Singapore after all)
7. The Hyper Fan. Or maybe The Drunk. Or both. Just go crazy. (Spotted: One)

desmond chan

Slowdive Review by Desmond Chan.