Live at the Ogden Theatre, an evening of mixed intentions and sentiments.
BY TIM HINELY
According to Set List the last time that Slowdive played Denver was in 1992 at the Gothic Theatre. I was not living in Colorado then, in fact, I had just moved to California, but had never seen them there either and then …..poof. They were gone. Their legend grew in the ensuing two plus decades and when they came back earlier this year (or maybe in 2016?) people were ready and frothing at the mouth. They released a S/T record on Dead Oceans earlier this year, which is at least as strong anything they have ever done.
There was a good crowd at the Ogden even for opener Cherry Glazerr. I had seen this young Los Angles trio, led by Clementine Creevy, once before and they were not my cuppa team and the two years that have passed I haven’t become more of a fan. The band has healthy following but I think they’re not sure if they want to be a pop band or a metal band or even a ….I dunno, grunge band. I didn’t like the songs, didn’t like her voice, didn’t like really any of it. Lots of shrieking and crashing guitars (which in the right hands can be a good/great thing). After a few records on the Burger label this latest one, Apocalipstick (great title!) came out on Secretly Canadian. Listen at your own risk.
Slowdive came out next with keyboardist/vocalist Rachel Goswell (whose solo record, 2004’s Waves Are Universal, is very good!) giving the crowd a big hello while the rest of the band including vocalist/guitarist/mainsongwriter Neil Halstead kept silent, kept their heards down (to, of course, gaze at their shoes, right?) and played song after dreamy song. In the shoegaze movement these guys were among the best and their breakup left many sad and confused (though I loved their next band, Mojave 3, as much, maybe more).
They opened with “Slomo” the opening track on said latest record and proceeded to play a terrific, career-spanning set complete with highs and even more highs (cool light show, too). From 1994’s Souvlaki we heard “Souvlaki Space Station’ and “Alison” and the great “When the Sun Hits” while from their 1991 debut, Just for a Day , they played gorgeous, swirling version of “Catch the Breeze” and from their “weird” album 1994’s Pygmalion, we heard “Crazy for You;’ and “Blued Skie’d and Clear.”
They didn’t skimp on tunes from the latest record as other than “Slomo” we heard the brilliant “Star Roving” plus “Don’t Know Why” and “Sugar for the Pill.” The ended the set with a cover of the old Syd Barrett song “Golden Hair” (which confused some of the millenials).
Not to be outdone they came out for three encores including “No Longer Making Time” plus “Dagger” (not named after my longtime zine) and they ended the swirling, ethereal “40 days” (from Souvlaki) and called it a night. They came, they saw, they conquered. The crowd was more than satisfied (present company included) and yeah, I hope they stick around for a while.