Posts Tagged ‘shoegaze’

Miniblog 8 – My Bloody Valentine at Manchester Apollo

June 30, 2008

Lovely trip up to Manchester with my friend Mira – we were both at university there back in the 90’s.  Mira and I first saw MBV together some 17 years ago – they were entirely wonderful then and are entirely wonderful now.  I was more relaxed at this gig than at the roundhouse, largely because all my worries about them having ‘lost it’ had been emphatically laid to rest.  It was a quite different experience too – the crowd were noisier, more dancey, less reverent, more chatty – there was little of the tension in the air felt at the roundhouse before they came on – presumably this was because everyone had read the reviews and, like me, felt pretty sure that MBV were going to be good.  And they were.  It was a little less loud than the london gigs (although plenty of people still looked exceedingly uncomfortable during You Made Me Realise), and the vocals had thankfully been turned up considerably, allowing the beauty of the melodies to really come through.  I got a better view too due to the sloping floor – it really looked fantastic.  No interaction with the audience, although there was some communication between band members.  D thwacked the hell out of her bass and gave it lots of attitude, C on drums was jaw-droppingly – i have absolutely no idea how he manages to keep up the drumming for the 25m+ of YMMR at the end of a set.  He did look like he was in considerable pain.  B and KS typical shoegazers and thus looking down most of the time.  No visible indicators that they are standing in front of many amps making nearly criminal levels of noise and reducing the crowd to a trembling, submissive mass. 

Two men nearly had a fight during To Here Knows When.  One of the most beautiful songs ever written, and they felt angry during it.  There is no fathoming other people. 

I bought my boyfriend a t-shirt.  I like to see him wear it.  Luckily he is an MBV fan, so bribes are not required. 

This is not a very  mini miniblog.  What can I say?  I REALLY LOVE MY BLOODY VALENTINE.

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Miniblog 6 – My Bloody Valentine, first night at The Roundhouse

June 30, 2008

Unbelievably, phenomenally, fantastically, awe inspiringly good.

And loud, very very very very loud.  But also beautiful.  Enough has been written about the 26 minute ‘holocaust’ of You Made Me Realise, suffice it to say that my throat was compressed and my skin trembling throughout.  Visuals were marvellous too.  I have never been to a gig where people moved around so little in terms of visits to the bar and the loos.  And everyone looked shellshocked at the end.  Shields vocals were too low though.  And they really are taciturn bastards. 

I LOVE MY BLOODY VALENTINE. 

Miniblog 5 – Air Formation at Industry

June 30, 2008

First up were Deep Cut who I loathe – crap songs, annoying vain singer.  Then a guy from The Telescopes doing an acoustic set – sub-standard Jason Spaceman stuff.  So far so crap.

But then came Air Formation, 4 rather unprepossessing chaps, who did a spellbinding set of quality shoegaze/post-rock.  There is stuff around that might more immediately grab you or insistently clamour for your attention, but I love their slow-burning, strangely (given the amount of noise they produce) gentle music – good for listening to in bed while in the arms of the one you love. 

Airiel and Ulrich Schnauss at The Social

May 4, 2008

I can never think of clever titles for my posts. 

This was a night run by Sonic Cathedral ‘the night that celebrates itself’ (www.soniccathedral.co.uk), part of the somewhat surprising but welcome (to me anyway) resurgence of shoegaze.  We were promised DJ sets from electronic shoegazers James from Maps and Ulrich Schnauss, and live music by Autumn Chorus and Airiel.  Well, first up, we missed the DJ’ing by James due to drinking too long in the narrow and crowded bar upstairs (worth a visit btw – great jukebox, cheap ‘n’ cheerful menu including crisp sandwiches, interesting variety of booze, always lively).  James was in evidence for the rest of the evening, but I was too shy to go and say hello. 

When we finally made our ways downstairs Autumn Chorus were already playing.  This lot hail from Brighton and produce music of the post-rock variety with vocals.  We all agreed that the singer sounded a bit like Thom Yorke, Jeff Buckley and maybe Nick Drake.  So really, really upbeat and cheerful then.  They made a goodly noise, quite beautiful and delicate at times, but it all sounded a bit samey with no  memorable melodies or individual songs that really grabbed me.  Perhaps not the most accessible sort of stuff to listen to in a crowded little venue when you’ve never heard any of the material before – I reckon they are worth a second listen.

http://www.myspace.com/autumnchorus

Next we had a little surprise – instead of DJ’ing, we had a proper set from Schnauss.  Good visuals and great ambient shoegaze electronica (and there aren’t many people you could describe that way).  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HOVwJq8b5A

Airiel are a “four man noise unit from Chicago”.   They are loud.  Really loud.  My ears were still ringing slightly the next morning.  They reminded me hugely of Ride (earlier Ride, when they were good), albeit with less impressive songs (i’m harping on about melody again here).  But their material is still pretty good, they played with youthful ferocity, and the general sound they produced made me happy.  Oh, and I haven’t seen such a very fine set of fringes since 1992.  I was less impressed by one of the guitarists standing on a table on stage for the entire set though – the stage is certainly very small (not actually fitting the drummer) and not particularly high, but this struck me as a bit wanky really.  I spent the set slightly hoping that his fringe would get caught in the lighting. 

http://www.myspace.com/airiel

I drank too much beer that night.  Had a bad hangover the next day (luckily had day off work).  Drank banana milk, tea, ribena, diet coke, water.  Started a thread on www.drownedinsound.com asking for recommendations for good hangover music.  Some sadists suggested hardcore techno – bastards!  Others were kinder, and I eventually found Galaxie 500, Slowdive, and Lemon Jelly to work the best.  I also dragged my sorry self out to vote in the London Mayoral election – may as well not have bothered given the stupid tory fucks that i am apparently living alongside.   

 

 

Alcest

March 28, 2008

Jeez, I am cooking on gas tonight with my blogging.  Could be something to do with the fact that I have a whole tonne of proper work to do – the only proper response to this fact is to become immediately immersed in something entirely unrelated. 

I want to write about Alcest because I totally and utterly love the album from 2007 – Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde.  It is french shoe-gaze, with some post-rock influences.  Alcest is basically a one-man band comprised of Neige – he is one of those chaps who appears to play every instrument thus making everyone else who can barely master one feel like a talentless imbecile.  They are everywhere these days.  He has crafted an album which is just lovely, lovely, lovely, and manages to be definitely shoegaze without trying to sound like MBV (a totally fantastic thing to aim for, but everyone just ends up falling short and sounding really second rate – i’m thinking of Asobi Seksu and Blonde Redhead for starters (the odd great track aside).  If you ever read an interview with him – well, my advice is just don’t, because he sounds like a great big pretentious pseudo-intellectual doofus – reminded me of an Ulrich Schnuass interview actually (highly recommended Germanic electronic shoegaze for the uninitiated among you).  Must be something about being from mainland Europe – maybe it is more acceptable for musicians there to talk about their music being about ‘half remembered words and unspoken dreams’ etcetera etcetera.  Apparently Neige used to do ‘black metal’ (not entirely sure what that is) but then moved onto shoegaze without having ever heard MBV et al.  I have ordered an earlier EP out of interest, so my knowledge of black metal will soon be immense.   

Anyway, none of that gubbins should detract from the sheer beauty of the album.  Very seriously recommended.  If only he would play in the UK – I may suggest to Club AC30 (who do very good post-shoegaze gig nights in north london) that they should invite him over.   

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