Photos by: Lisa Mark –
Review by: Justin Hines –
On May 20th 1994, Slowdive played a show in Toronto at Lee’s Palace. This show turned out to be their final show for the next 20 years. In 1995, Slowdive released a final album – ‘Pygmillion’ to a music scene that had moved on largely in part to their label-mates at Creation Records, Oasis, and the bombastic britpop movement. As a result, Slowdive and the album ‘Pygmillion’ were largely ignored, labeled “uncool”, and split up shortly thereafter.
Over the past two decades, Slowdive’s music has endured over the past two decades and their past catalogue has aged remarkably well compared to a lot of their contemporaries. ‘Souvlaki’ is hailed as a classic must-own record in its own right and even listening to the panned ‘Pygmalion’ these days seems it was actually us that needed to catch up to them and not the other way around.
In 2014, Slowdive reformed to play shows for the first time in 20 years. They played 43 shows that year including a critically acclaimed show here in Toronto, but the question most fans were asking was would this lead to any new music?
Last night (May 5th), Slowdive not only played a show in Toronto but also released their first album in 22 years – the self titled record ’Slowdive’. Opening with the atmospheric ‘Slomo’ off the energized and fluent new album, the band was in confident but relaxed form. They continued on with older songs ‘Catch The Breeze’ and ‘Crazy For You’ before switching gears back to the first new song released in 22 years. The new song in question – titled ‘Star Roving’ – features one of the many beautiful vocals by Rachel Goswell juxtaposed against principal songwriter Neil Healstead’s own vocal signature. However it was with classic staples ‘Souvlvaki Space Station’ and ‘When The Sun Hits’ from the landmark album ‘Slouvaki’ when the show really took off. Still keeping up with the flow a brilliant performance of new track ‘Sugar From The Pill’ followed by concert highlight ‘She Calls’ from 1991’s ‘Morningrise’ EP. The band closed out the first set with an extended cover of Syd Barrett’s ‘Golden Hair’.
Opening the encore with the 1990s genre-defining track ‘Slowdive’, it was very evident the band that had released their first album in two decades had lost no ground during their absence. Slowdive returned once more to the new album with the track ‘No Longer Making Time’ before finishing out the set with Souvlaki favourite ’40 days’.
It’s rare these days to find a band still capable reaching new heights after close to 30 years but Slowdive has done just that.