Slowdive at Arts Club (28 Mar ’17)

This was my first ever time seeing Slowdive who came to the Arts Club ahead of an upcoming eponymous album, their first for more than two decades.

Ticket

I bought their first three ep’s soon after they came out in 1991, then snapping up their debut album Just For A Day the day after it was released.

I didn’t get round to acquiring 1993’s Souvlaki until 2010, and finally picked up Pygmalion from 1995 earlier this year when I decided to come to this gig.

Somehow, I never managed to catch the Reading five piece live back in the day. They still retain the same line-up since the first album, having been through a few drummers before settling on Simon Scott, who I must have seen several times when he was with both The Charlottes and Lowgold.

Even more surprising as I saw almost every other leading shoegaze band, and several minor ones, from Adorable to Lush and The Boo Radleys to Moose.

The rest of the band remains the same from their glory days, led by Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead who both sing, alongside bassist Nick Chaplin and Christian Savill on guitar.

I scoured the venue’s bars in vain for a Guinness, with not even a can to be found, so I settled for a overpriced-as-ever-here pint of San Miguel, not my favourite lager, but beggars can’t be choosers at times.

Support act Ulrika Spacek came on at about 8pm. I’d acquired their first album The Album Paranoia from last year ahead of the gig, and given it a couple of spins, with a new one due this summer.

Ulrika Spacek

I thought the bassist looked like he’d stepped out of a Touch And Go Records band, with two of the guitarists resembling members of Swervedriver and Lambchop.

Forgive me that I can’t name which song was which, but they kicked off with some poppy drones, followed by a much more Pavement-sounding one.

Other songs reminded me of TOY, 1980’s Creation Records bands and Sonic Youth, and a proper poppy version of Wooden Shjips.

Like the headliners they are from Reading, and were clearly big fans of Slowdive, who they revealed to be very nice people, offering them a loan of a guitar when they had problems with one mid-set.

They were the ideal support act for the evening, and I look forward to their sophomore album later this year.

Slowdive

Slowdive came on at about 9.15pm, kicking off with the shimmering ambience of Avalyn from the debut eponymous ep from 1990, followed by the chiming Catch The Breeze off the following year’s Holding Our Breath ep.

Neil Halstead

Crazy For Love from Pygmalion featured thunderous drums, with the setlist ranging across their entire oeuvre, including the driving new song Star Roving.

The shoegaze squall of Souvlaki Space Station was followed by the hugely popular When The Sun Hits, also off Souvlaki.

Next came another real highlight in Alison, yet another song from their second album. The main set closed with the squalling She Calls, a track off the second ep Morningrise, and their wonderful cover of Syd Barrett’s Golden Hair, another early ep track.

Slowdive

They returned with three more great numbers, with their eponymous song followed by another new number called No Longer Making Time, and the evening ended with another track off Souvlaki in 40 Days.

I may have taken more than a quarter of century to see them, but it was worth the wait, and I am now eagerly anticipating the new album later this year.

Tonight’s t-shirt

There were a fair few band t-shirts in evidence tonight, including The Sisters Of Mercy, Lush, Joy Division and Chapterhouse, while I decided on my red Track & Field Records one.

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Playlist

Here is some of the music from the night on Spotify:

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