Friday, October 01, 2010

The Shoegaze Chronicles, part I : Slowdive

When i started this blog some years ago, i posted a lot about one of my all-time favourite musical genres: shoegaze. But since i removed all my old posts some time ago, i feel free to make a fresh start now with this as well.

If you need some background info about the word "shoegaze" and examples of bands that fit in that category, here's some wikipedia for you. Now on with one of the bands that i think stand out the most: SLOWDIVE.

The special bond that i have with SLOWDIVE is a tragic one.
When i first came in contact with shoegaze music, or alternative music in general, was when i moved out of my parental home in the countryside to study at the university. Until then, my favourite artists were David Bowie and U2 (while Bowie remains my all time favourite solo artist without doubt). But there, in the "big city", one of the good things i got was cable television. Cable brought me MTV, and MTV brought me 120 Minutes. A whole new world openened up for me.

I saw the most amazing videos and live footage of bands that i thought were really cool. Some were extremely noisy (MY BLOODY VALENTINE), extremely sexy (LUSH, CURVE) or extremely laidback and dreamy. SLOWDIVE fell in that last category. It's not without reason that they call their style dreampop as well sometimes. Here's an example: their song "Catch The Breeze" from the Just For A Day album.

After a while i discovered that these bands were touring outside the UK (where most of them came from) every now and then. At some point, in 1992, i read that SLOWDIVE would come to play some shows in Holland. I got really excited when i saw that they would not only play in Den Haag which was much closer, but also in Apeldoorn, very close to the village where i lived previously at my parents' place, in the weekend. And since i was studying during the week i thought that going home for the weekend and catching their show over there would be a great plan.
So all was set; i had a ticket, my mum would drive me to town on Saturday evening and she would pick me up again at 23:30 (she had to set the alarm for that actually, she told me later). Opener that night was HUGO RACE. Show was supposed to start at 20:00. It already took quite a while before he started, actually nearly 2 hours later than planned, and i didn't get into it at all. Then i saw what time it was when he ended. Something like 23:00! So i rushed to a pay-phone (this was 1992 mind you) and called my mother, telling her not to hurry and that she could pick me up around 00:30.
Now here comes the tragic part: SLOWDIVE eventually only came on stage shortly after 00:30, when i stepped in my mum's car. I didn't dare to call her once more to tell her to come by even later, as this was already like the middle of the night to her. I was a student, had no money for a 50 euro taxi ride, there were no night busses and walking those 20 km through the forest in the middle of the night was no option either.

So to cut a long story short: SLOWDIVE is the band whose show i was at, but never saw playing live.

I could rant on and on about them, but besides telling you that i never really got into Mojave 3 which was formed by the 3 ex-members Rachel Goswell, Neil Halstead and Ian McCutcheon, and that you can read some interesting background info here, i'll just leave you with 2 more videos of fine SLOWDIVE tunes: "Slowdive" from their first EP and "Allison" from the Souvlaki album.


David Sánchez said...


I am the webmaster of

I wonder if you happen to have the ticket for the Slowdive gig in Apeldoorn that you mught want to share (a scan)


David Sánchez said...

and nevermind about that experience anymore: Slowdive are coming back! :)

D said...

Hi David,

Unfortunately i do not have the ticket for that show anymore. No idea where it went... probably in the bin. And yes i know they are coming back! Can't wait until their countdown on Twitter is over and what they will reveal!