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Slowdive played The Vic with Japanese Breakfast (pics, setlist, review)

Slowdive are currently on tour supporting their first new album in 22 years and if you didn’t know about the nearly two decades away, it would be easy to assume that they never stopped. The tour hit Chicago’s Vic Theatre on May 3 and their setlist pulled the best from all over their catalog, melding it all together into a stunning display of why they are undeniably one of the best groups to ever put out delay-soaked dream pop.

Tourmates Japanese Breakfast opened the show with a great set and Michelle Zauner was full of energy, running around the massive stage when possible, giving “Everybody Wants To Love You” the overwhelming physical energy that song requires and poking fun at the band’s newfound green room expectations, “St. Paul ruined us. They had fresh ice in the ice bucket! We’re complete divas now.”

Then, the main event. A distant, silent droning gave way to a pulsing drum beat and then a otherworldly guitar lick, and Slowdive was on. “Slomo,” which also opens the band’s new self-titled album, was the perfect way to tease the crowd back into the world of Slowdive with all of its lilting cries for love and a swell of sound that brings you in and swallows you whole. Immediately flipping back to the beginning of the band’s catalog they launched into their debut LP’s “Catch The Breeze” and Pygmalion cut “Crazy For You” to slowly build up the energy that paid off in the excellent new track “Star Roving.” The lights fell, leaving only four overhead spotlights as Rachel Goswell walked up to the microphone to simply beam a smile to the crowd and let them know that “It’s very nice to be back.”

From there it was all flashing lights, fog and swirling non-euclidian shapes projected behind the band, turning the stage into a seemingly constantly shifting backdrop that fit the dreamy nature of their music perfectly. The band ran through shoegaze hits like “When The Sun Hits” and “Alison” like it was still the early ‘90s, and even tossed in a gorgeous blend of “Avalyn I” and “Avalyn II” from their self-titled debut EP. They closed the set pre-encore with a gorgeous cover of Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair” and returned “Slowdive, “No Longer Making Time,” and a particularly incredible performance of Souvlaki’s “40 Days” that sent the crowd off wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy haze. Setlist is below and pics are in the gallery above.

Slowdive’s new self-titled is available now on Dead Oceans, and their tour hits NYC tonight (5/8, sold out) and Tuesday (5/9, tickets) at Brooklyn Steel. Also on May 9, Slowdive are playing a private session at a Brooklyn Recording studio that will stream via Pitchfork Live at 1:15 PM EDT.

SETLIST: Slowdive @ The Vic Theatre, Chicago, 05/03/2017
Slomo
Catch the Breeze
Crazy for You
Star Roving
Machine Gun
Souvlaki Space Station
Avalyn
When the Sun Hits
Alison
Sugar for the Pill
She Calls
Golden Hair (Syd Barrett cover)

Encore:
Slowdive
No Longer Making Time
40 Days

photos by James Richards IV; words by Zach Baker

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