Concert review: Shoegaze icons Slowdive retain the integrity of songs written two decades ago

Seminal shoegaze band Slowdive stopped over in Singapore on Thursday for their first show here. -- PHOTO: KENNETH LEE FOR SYMMETRY ENTERTAINMENT 
Seminal shoegaze band Slowdive stopped over in Singapore on Thursday for their first show here. -- PHOTO: KENNETH LEE FOR SYMMETRY ENTERTAINMENT 

SLOWDIVE

The Ground Theatre at *Scape/Thursday

This January, indie music fans rejoiced at the news that British shoegaze band Slowdive would reunite after a two-decade hiatus and embark on a world tour.

Riding on the back of a vintage - but timeless - catalogue of songs they recorded in the early 1990s, the seminal shoegaze band began touring in May, starting at Barcelona's Primavera Festival and, finally, stopping over in Singapore on Thursday for their first show here.

It was thrilling for fans to see Slowdive - comprising the original line-up of vocalist and guitarist Neil Halstead, vocalist and guitarist Rachel Goswell, drummer Simon Scott, guitarist Christian Savill and bassist Nick Chaplin - come on stage and perform the dreamy songs from their three studio albums that earned them bona fide indie cred. 

Aptly, they opened their set with their namesake song Slowdive, as if to drive home the fact that they were back to make music.

Twenty years on and now all middle-aged, they could nonetheless deliver a set that kept the integrity of their songs and their music remains as current as ever, thanks to the revival of the shoegaze and post-rock genres in the past few years. It is a trend fuelled by a legion of young hipster music lovers embracing the likes of dream-pop duo Beach House and indie-rock bands Real Estate and Beach Fossils.

Slowdive ran through an entire set of crowdpleasers for over an hour, including the hauntingly romantic When The Sun Hits, 40 Days and the maligned but introspective Blue Skied An' Clear.

Although the audience was not all quietly staring down at their shoes while swaying to the shoegaze music, they were rather subdued, choosing to soak up the lush soundscapes the band built with glistening guitars and a sea of reverb.

At one point, Halstead jokingly remarked: "You guys are pretty quiet, it's quite scary."

They saved their best hits for last, including the mellow, stripped-down Dagger and the more beatific Alison, which took the audience to a soaring end.

The only fault one could find with their set was that Goswell's vocals were muffled and often drowned by reverb. It was a shame to hear her voice buried in the background of noise when her vocal partner Halstead could be heard crisp and clear. This made the vocal harmonies somewhat lacklustre.

But it would take a lot more than poor mixing on the soundboard to disappoint fans here who have waited more than 15 years to see Slowdive in the flesh.

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