Off Campus, Arts

Slowdive Gave An Effortless But Piercing Performance For Fans At House of Blues

There’s something special about witnessing the members of an audience standing at a concert, anticipating the synths in their favorite song to start building and finally crash—a sea of people nodding their heads to the newfound beat in the song. 

Every song Slowdive played at its show at the House of Blues had this feeling. 

The British shoegaze band has a knack for building suspense in its music. Maybe it comes with the shoegaze genre—a style of music characterized by heavy synths and distorted vocals. Or maybe it’s just the unique way Slowdive keeps the crowd’s attention during live shows. 

Usually, bands include elements in their shows that make them interactive for the audience. Sometimes, they’ll initiate a call-and-response sing-along for one of their biggest songs. Other times, they’ll directly interact with audience members, commenting on their signs or asking them how their day was. 

But not Slowdive. 

Besides the lighting and visual effects projected on the backdrop of the stage, all Slowdive had to offer was its music. For its audience, though, that seemed to be more than enough. 

“This is the best night of my life,” one fan screamed in between songs. 

The band barely had any interaction with the audience besides the occasional thank you after certain tracks. Without this little interaction, the transitions from one song to the next filled the stadium with complete silence. This gave some audience members the liberty to be able to clearly yell out their messages to the band from the audience, including heart-felt messages about how they felt about the band and requests as to which songs they should play. 

Before jumping into the first song, “shanty,” off of Slowdive’s recent everything is alive album, the band calmly walked onstage as if it was just other members of the crew giving the instruments one last tune before the show started. 

“Star Roving,” the third song in the set, is one of the band’s more feel-good and lyric-filled songs. If any song would make the audience sway to the rhythm of the music in Slowdive’s set, it’s this one. 

“In a flash of time / Said she’s feeling love for everyone tonight / Smiling beautiful / She says I make it best for everyone tonight,” Neil Halstead, vocalist and guitarist, sang. 

Slowdive made some interesting choices with its setlist for the night, including playing its biggest song “When the Sun Hits” second to last in its main set. The band also played “Golden Hair,” a cover of the Syd Barret song from 1970, as its last song before the encore. 

The entire concert felt like a light show, with spotlights constantly roaming over the crowd and graphics projected onto the backdrop of the stage, changing colors and shapes with every song. But Slowdive took visuals and theatrics to the next level with “Golden Hair.”

For “Golden Hair,” Rachel Goswell, the lead singer and keyboardist, came in first with her isolated vocals. The song had a haunting feeling to it, and the white light fading in and out on the stage only added to the effect. When the snare drums came in, the song reached its climax, but Goswell had already served her purpose with the vocals, and she faded off stage like an apparition. 

Goswell’s absence left the audience to focus on the rest of the bandmates. After the drummer hit the last note and stood up from his instrument, each band member began to exit the stage. But the group left the reverberator on, indicating that it would come back onstage for an encore. 

The encore spanned three songs—”the slab,” “Dagger,” and “40 Days.” “Dagger” added an acoustic and less synthesized track to the set—a bit of an odd note to end the concert based on the other songs on the setlist. The song felt more fitted for a mid-concert interlude between the dreamy and haunted classic shoegaze tracks that the band played through the night. 

October 10, 2023