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.
I found myself sleeping well at a bottom of a double deck bed at the hostel staff’s room in Yangshuo. We hurried the accommodations the day before, so we had to settle for that. I was now with Raymond, Ariel, a young Chinese couple, and another enthusiastic lady companion who appeared to spearhead the trip. Forgive me for not being so keen to remember names, and if that shaves a good load of my genuine gratefulness towards our little tour group, so be it.
The day started with a Li River tour cruise, where I didn’t get what I wished for: a front row seat on the raft I was in. I got to be with a group from the Guilin hostel where I knew no one, and half way down, the lady tour guide asked me to move rafts, not knowing the reason why I had to, but there wasn’t really any real interest to know. On that other raft I was still occupying a second row seat, but I was beside the tour guide, so yeah, I now had an advantage over the others, though an unexpected one. I asked how the cruise would be during the winter time (only few tourists take it), and she pointed at what the locals would refer to as horse’s heads on the mountain faces. I can’t decide if she was pretty. I’ll settle for amiable.
I have to admit Shanghai doesn’t get the hot, trending bands from the West. If it happens, expect ticket prices to soar. Finding out Deafheaven will play in Yuyintang was a headtrip itself. I possessed a 100RMB pre-sale ticket not long after the gig announcement.
Deafheaven was a band I found out from 2013 year-end lists, and they were good. Tickled my current black metal fancy, reminded me of my not so fervent but ongoing fascination with anything post-rock and shoegaze.