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The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The return of the shoegaze giants

Slow Dive performing at the Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul. Photo by Rory Donaghy ’24.

Last Wednesday, hundreds of young fans and 40 year-old men filled the Palace Theatre to see shoegaze giants, Slowdive, make their first appearance in the Twin Cities in over six years as part of their tour for their highly anticipated album, “Everything Is Alive.” 

This new offering is the band’s second album since their reunion in 2014. It brings plenty of the haunting, yet energetic walls of guitar, and delicate, spaced-out vocals the band is known for, while experimenting with the analogue synth sounds present in their self-titled album. This new sound is at the forefront in the concert’s opening song, “Shanty,” which begins with a chilling blend of funky synth before being joined by guitarist Christian Savill and his 40 reverb pedals. 

The live rendition of “Shanty” was very similar to the studio recording, which made me worried that the majority of the set wouldn’t switch it up from recordings much. Thankfully, I was completely wrong. 

It’s no secret that vocalist Neil Halstead’s voice has changed significantly since the mid 90s. Just listen to the difference between “When The Sun Hits” (1994) and “Sugar For The Pill” (2017). His approach to singing only loosely resembles what it used to be. As such, an attempt to match the record with the songs off the earlier album, such as “Crazy for You,” would have sounded strange. So each song received its own tweaks to better compliment the band’s current sound, while still clearly resembling the original. 

The first big shift was in “Crazy For You,” which lightened the psychedelic vocals, and further emphasized the forward movement of the guitar with a tempo increase. However, this change is minimal compared to what came next. 

Later on in the show, Slowdive did rounds of their classic songs, “Alison” and “When The Sun Hits,” neither of which I could recognize within the first 15 seconds of the performances. Both songs were thoroughly reworked, featuring a different key, timing, tones, and, of course, the same vocal flavor of the self-titled album and “Everything Is Alive.” These versions bridged the 23-year gap in the outfit’s discography, applying their more recent sound onto their classics in a way that was as refreshing as it was effective. 

Overall, the set’s presentation was a pleasant surprise. While Slowdive isn’t known for being all that “hype,” the band managed to leave me feeling energized and excited with each song. 

Starting with “Shanty” and leading right into “Star Roving,” my personal favorite of their recent works, started the show with strong momentum that the band maintained through the entire setlist, ending with a cover of Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair.” After this, they left the stage for all of three minutes before returning for an encore, where they performed two more songs off “Everything Is Alive”: “prayer remembered,” and “the slab,” before ending with another classic off “Souvlaki,” “40 Days.” 

While they didn’t finish with the same energy they left off with, it was an appropriately somber end to an incredible return from the band. Overall, the concert was incredible, and even those unfamiliar with Slowdive would have had an amazing time. While I would have enjoyed more talk from the band in between songs than Racheal Goswell’s monotone “thank you”s, with Slowdive, it’s about the immersion in the music, and immersed I was. Hopefully, it won’t be another six year wait to see them in the Twin Cities again. 


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About the Contributor
Rory Donaghy, Photo Editor
Rory Donaghy 24' is the photo editor, from St. Paul, MN. He's a computer science major that picked up a studio art minor to sound less boring in class introductions. He spends half of his free time taking pictures of literal dumpsters with film cameras and printing said pictures in the dark room pretending that the digital camera was never invented. He spends the other half staring at the ceiling in complete silence wondering where all the time went.

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  • K

    KelsiOct 15, 2023 at 10:37 am

    I just wish slowdive will do a world tour I would love to see slowdive I seen my bloody Valentine in 2008

  • G

    GraemeOct 14, 2023 at 8:48 am

    5th November belfast and this 54 year old will be watching slowdive for the first time (finally)

    • G

      Greg ZaretOct 14, 2023 at 3:58 pm

      That’s great! Enjoy! I only saw Mojave 3 which is not even the same 😂