Friday, September 08, 2017

Slowdive, Vaadat Charigim live at Barby, Tel Aviv

It's appropriate that this is likely my last non-(cool) Dad gig.  Shoegaze was the genre that should have been a passing fad like so many other 80's and 90's rock-based microgenres.  Yet it somehow stuck around thanks to a small number of passionately devoted fans (half of which formed their shoegazing bands, or so it might seem).  Much like the West Coast psychedelia scene of the late 60's, the bands were relative footnotes in the grand scheme of rock at the time and flamed out quickly, but became counterculture, forever cool touchstones -- especially once their fans grew up to be music critics and couldn't stop writing about them.  Now we're the crusty stoners in our 40's who can't get enough of the music we grew up with.  Are there any new shoegaze fans jumping on ship during the past few years.  Based on the look of the crowd in the Barby, it seems not.

But at the very least, Vaadat Charigim won themselves at least one new fan (me).  They may be the best rock band in Israel.  These guys just get it.  Formed only five years, they look like grizzled fans who finally said fuck it and decided to go for it and form the shoegaze band they'd always dreamed of forming after letting life get in the way for far too many years.  Their music is like the Spirit of '88 MBV with the tempos slowed down by 25%, full of searing transitions and loaded with pop hooks.

The first wave of shoegaze largely passed me by at the time.  I knew about the bands but wasn't a big fan and hardly owned any records until years later.  I didn't see any of them live either -- until now.  Yes, this was my (depending on how you'd classify bands like Catherine Wheel) *first* "first wave" shoegazing gig.  

Two things about Slowdive, who are still magnificent after all these years.  First, the new songs are great and fit it seamlessly with the old ones.  Someone new to their music who dropped in on this show would be hard pressed, I think, to tell the old and new songs apart based on style and even based on crowd reactions.  Second, the gig was mellow.  Really mellow.  So mellow that after 20 years, the overlap between Slowdive and Mojave 3 was finally revealed to me in perfect clarity.  Slowdive on this night were Mojave 3 with mountains of reverb (which to be fair, is exactly what I always wanted out of Mojave 3 ... I even saw them live once in the blind hope that they might become that live).  Everything from the smooth, laid back tempos to the twangy guitars (encased in feedback and reverb) to Neil Halstead's trucker hat was dedicated to providing listeners with the alt-country experience at a much higher volume.    

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