Once a soundtrack to the lives of misunderstood, angst filled teenagers, Slowdive have returned. Still packed with emotional turbulence – and looking impressively young – the band’s show at The Forum in London on Saturday, December 20th was nothing if not sensational.
It’s a rarity that old legends can pull off comeback shows without a crude sense of being dated. Yet, following the rippling guitar of “Slowdive” on opening, any sense of it being a reformation show was lost. There’s lots of ways to get audiences to lose themselves, overwhelming them with a crushing wall of sound is but one.
Rachel Goswell introducing “Catch the Breeze” was a sharp awakening after two songs of classic shoegaze euphoria. Nonetheless the band was quick to return to performing. It was this in fact which helped them play such a good show, a lesson many acts would do well to learn. When trying to perform an emotive set of music, just play the music.
Not entirely an uninterrupted set, the band’s pause to dedicate “When the Sun Hits” to the recently deceased Nick Talbot (Warp Records’ Gravenhurst) was done sincerely and to a resonant emotive effect. Surprisingly so, other hits like “Alison” and “Machine Gun” carried less of an impact, seeming a bit too sharp in their familiarity.
Finishing on a phenomenal performance of “Golden Hair” the band left, to be called back to the stage by an enduring encore for “Rutti” and “40 Days”. Slowdive seem to have a genuine sense of love left in them, both for what they are doing and their fans. Much of the time bands playing reformation gigs can be hollow, lacking in passion, or at the very least, lacking in enjoyment. Perhaps a phenomenon of the shoegaze bands, emotion and passion still seem very much there.