There were birthday travel plans already for Nanjing, when an officemate mentioned that she’d be heading out to Jeju Island in South Korea for a weekend. You know that eye-frown you make when you wouldn’t think that was a real swell idea to go for? I had that, until she told me her budget, and the following facts: plane fare was relatively cheap coming from Shanghai, and a Philippine passport wouldn’t need a visa stamp to visit the island. Then that eye-frown quickly went bug-eyed, and the sense of a good opportunity welled up in my brain. This annual December undertaking of mine won’t be done back home or in China anymore, and the only thing I know about the specific area was fed to me by a movie, which I happen to really like.
This was my second time to go to a Mono show (read about the first gig I went to here), and there really isn’t a lot of new things to say this time. Same amazing display of post-rock awesomeness? Yes. Notable moments consist of Tamaki Kunishi picking up a guitar for a few minutes instead of her bass, both guitarists would now choose to stand up for a few songs, and, no encore, which was the same as last time. There was also the thing where I wasn’t one of the early birds, and that I didn’t start the queue to get into Mao Livehouse. I was still situated in front row, way off-center, but the view I had was definitely nothing to complain about.
My first mention of the Japanese band Toe is noted on this 2007 entry. That was the period when I’ve dipped feet into the land of post-rock, and there was a mention of this band on one of the community blogs I frequent at that time. Since then, they fell out of my regular playlist after being almost exclusively played on long work commutes at that time. I credit them for being my gateway drug into Japanese music.
When they played in Manila, my knee-jerk reaction was that everyone who’d be watching must suck, suck big time, since I knew them before everyone did, right? I stopped the thought, of course, because, well, I only had ethereal, connections with like minded individuals over my social networks, and no one here goes to gigs with me. What is the point of gloating about this, really?
I saw them last weekend here in Shanghai. It took 7 years, and it was my chance to end this stupid, ill feeling.
Back in the mid to late 90s, a college friend introduced me to Slowdive, highlighting their other titular song ‘Dagger’, and letting me listen to their Souvlaki record by way of a CD-transfer to cassette.
A few years later, I became the owner of a Mojave 3 CD, a bargain bin purhcase. Neil Halstead, Slowdive’s frontman, leads Mojave 3, but this predominantly acoustic-sound undertaking didn’t make much of a splash in my own music consciousness. More than a decade later, I was more than surprised to see them slated to play around here in Shanghai. I knew it would still be a good nostalgia trip if I did catch a show, but this was one of those things I just decided to skip.
NOTE: Other shows I decided to skip? Cat Power. DJ Shadow. Behemoth. God Is An Astronaut. Don’t ask.
When I saw the name ‘Slowdive‘ show up in these expat-centric online gig listings, it didn’t take me long to get my hands on a ticket, and head on over to Youtube to catch up on what their recent reunion shows look like. I read a review or two. What I’ve watched and read pointed a watered-down version of their old glory. After watching the actual show, though, I’m sorry, I must’ve seen a different band than everyone else did. They were fantastic.
Best band photo of the year, so far. Maybe all I really needed was to start taking photos of the better sex, rocking, again.