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Sonic Cathedral 10th Anniversary with Slowdive and Mark Gardener

I wrote this review for a Slowdive fanzine put together by a friend, but I felt now would be a good time to post it since finally I uploaded my photos and videos from the show.

Sonic Cathedral: 10 years of Celebrating Ourselves @ Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
featuring Slowdive, Mark Gardener, Ulrich Schnauss, DJ Andrew Weatherall

May 18, 2014

HoxtonSquare
Hoxton Square park


Sonic Cathedral
a.k.a. “The Label That Celebrates Itself” is a label (and website) that features a number of artists (many shoegaze and psych rock in genre). The full lineup was announced the day of the event, though there had been word floating about of this being a warm-up gig for Slowdive before their 20 year reunion show at the Village Underground the next day (which sold out in 90 seconds).

HoxtonSquareBarFront
Outside Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

Slowdive had a history of issues with record labels and music press, so their welcome return was giving the influential and underrated band the attention they deserved. Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen was a relaxed venue right next to Hoxton Square, where many gig attendees were relaxing on the ground the trees (including Slowdive themselves). There was an outdoor patio area and right inside were couches, a bar, and lots of seating for the restaurant area.

Mark Gardener - Sonic Cathedral
Mark Gardener @ Sonic Cathedral

Emma Anderson (Sing-Sing/Lush) was deejaying near the bar around the time we arrived. Sonic Cathedral was selling their label merchandise, including shirts, buttons, vinyl, and CDs outside the stage area. Slowdive were selling their shirts, mugs, bags, etc. right across from it. There was a separate room for performances, which was only about 180 in capacity

Andrew Weatherall deejayed in the main room before the actual show started. Mark Gardener opened the show with just his acoustic guitar. He played a short set of songs from his solo release “These Beautiful Ghosts” and a cover of Ride’s “Polar Bear” and Robin Guthrie’s “Dice.” It was a lovely set with Mark’ s crystalline vocals and gentle guitar playing.

Ulrich Schnauss - Sonic Cathedral
Ulrich Schnauss @ Sonic Cathedral

Ulrich Schnauss was next, he had a full multimedia visual experience provided by Nat Urazmetova on a screen. He had a female guitarist assisting him during he set. They stood further off to the side, which made the visuals the focal point of the performance. It was a visually unique and sonically immersive instrumental set.

Slowdive @ Sonic Cathedral
Slowdive @ Sonic Cathedral

Slowdive’s long awaited return to the stage did not disappoint, they played a 13 song set which focused heavily on songs from their EPs and the Souvlaki (1992) album. The set included live debuts of “Crazy For You” and “Blue Skied an’ Clear” from their 1995 album Pygmalion, ending with their brilliant cover of Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair” and “Allison” for the encore. The live version of “Crazy For You” was faster and more intense than the album version.

The relaxed and intimate set was fantastic with beautiful layers of noise, effects filled guitar sound by Christian Savill, Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead. Goswell’s and Halstead’s voices floated above with rhythm section Simon Scott (drums) and Nick Chaplin (bass) rounding out their dreamy sound. Slowdive’s return is long awaited and great especially for those who couldn’t catch them the first time around.

 

 

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