Slowdive, a band that’s been credited as helping to place shoegaze on the musical map, put on an unforgettable performance at the Fillmore last night, one that will forever be etched into the walls of the iconic venue. The band has had one of the longest periods of hiatus in music history following their 1995 release Pygmalion but has since come back stronger than ever to reclaim their title as the kings of a genre that’s influenced so many since.
Following a brief reunion is 2014, Slowdive released a new LP this year much to the surprise of many of their fans. So it came as no surprise that when they decided to follow it up with a tour, it would result in two sold-out shows in San Francisco, a city that’s always had a lot of love for them.
By the time they hit the stage last night, it was bathed entirely in thick hazy blue smoke, which set the mood correctly for the dreary hypnotic sounds that were to come. They wasted no time and launched into “Slomo,” a song laced with infinite musical layers and haunting vocal melody lines. Moved on to “Catch the Breeze,” off of Just for a Day and “Crazy for You.” The seasoned musicians saved material from Souvlaki for midway into the set when they played “machine gun” and “Souvlaki Space Station,” which transported us all to another far away dimension.
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What’s impressive about this band is the timeless nature of their music. When they kicked into “Sugar for the Pill,” towards the end of the set it sounded like something that could have easily been released by some of the younger bands today. Closing up the show they played a stunning rendition of Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair,” which put the icing on the cake for an already memorable night.
They came out for an impressive three encores much to the gratitude of their fans that had waited so long to see them. Quite an impressive feat for a band that’s been out of the limelight for a good portion of their career. It’s the kind of longevity that you only find these days from some of the older acts since the newer ones seem to fall victim to fizzling out after the first single or two.
Photos by Louis Raphael