Show Review: Slowdive at Massey Hall

By Isaac Nikolai Fox (@1nikofox). Photo via twitter.com

Slowdive’s second show in Toronto since returning from their 22-year hiatus was nothing short of excellent.

From the first chord, they had the audience (a mix of older fans in their 40’s/50’s, and new fans in their late teens and mid-20’s) captured. With the band’s original line-up back together, they brought the thick, shimmering shoegaze sound to Massey Hall, playing through an array of tracks from their initial run, and their latest self-titled release, including “Slomo,” “Don’t Know Why,” “No Longer Making Time,” and my personal favorite, “When the Sun Hits.” The visuals complementing their set were captivating, as some songs were set to a flickering grid of lines, while others were backlit by kaleidoscopic abstract art. Their performance of, “Sugar for the Pill” was particularly striking visually. As the band launched into it, a maelstrom of pills cascaded down the screen and contorted as the song built in energy.

Singer Rachel Goswell undeniably stole the show, telling several stories between songs about getting woken up by sniffer dogs at the border, and getting through it another time after pulling up her Wikipedia page. She remarked dryly during the show that it was strange playing while everyone was sitting down, which got a laugh out of the entire audience. Everyone immediately stood up and pressed to the front. Musically, the best moment during their set was undeniably their encore performance of Dagger – one their best-known songs. Neil and Rachel’s soothing harmonies filled the entire room, and it was incredibly satisfying to finally see a song I’ve watched so many Youtube covers of live-in-the-flesh.

The Massey Hall audience missed out on hearing fan favorites like “Machine Gun,” and “Sleep,” but the new material from 2017’s Slowdive really deserves the shine it got during their set. Slowdive has come a very long way from being ostracized by the media, fans, and labels alike in the mid-90’s. With any luck, they’ll come back around Toronto soon.

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