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Music journalism of today has become so diluted with substandard writing (thanks to the internet that makes it all too easy for anyone to start a blog and acquire press credentials) that artists don’t seem to pay much attention to the noise. In the early '90s, when Slowdive was trying to survive as a band, before the time of Spotify and advance album streams, many of us relied on music publications to help us decide whether a recording was worth the $10-15 investment. With a discouraging number of negative reviews (along with bad timing) for Slowdive’s releases, it’s no wonder the English quintet called it quits after about only six years. Two decades later, and the ethereal “shoegaze” band is booking music festivals around the globe and selling out shows. How irrelevant those unenthusiastic write-ups are now; only time is the most reliable critic.

I learned about Slowdive when they had already moved on as Mojave 3 and was quite upset that there would never be Souvlaki pt 2. Couple of years ago, there were some rumors about a reunion and in January of this year, it became a reality. And my dream of losing consciousness in a wave of dreamy guitars and vocals was surpassed on November 5 at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.

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Going to see Slowdive was grand enough but having a “slowcore” legend, Low, open for them was the bitters in my whiskey. Low’s music can lull one to sleep at times, but the Minnesota trio amplified their myriad of effects and harmonies to the point of inverting their stereotyped subdued palette. While Slowdive has been dormant for almost 20 years, Low has been diligently releasing new recordings since 1994, the latest in 2013 with The Invisible Way. And judging by their performance, no one will be turning off the lights on Low anytime soon.

For the 15-song set, Slowdive drew heavily from their seminal second LP, Souvlaki, but less from their debut, Just for a Day. Kicking off with the tracks from their self-titled debut EP from 1990, “Slowdive” and “Avalyn,” the five-piece eased into their "hits." There were some off-key flickers, and a minor distraction from a passed-out fan near the front, just as “Alison” heightened the audiences’ spirit. But the dominant mood was that of celestial splendor—the band seemed content, especially singer/guitarist Rachel Goswell, who often smiled gently, moving gracefully in her cherry-topped, red-heeled platforms. During “Golden Hair,” Goswell sat on the stage for a bit after her vocal duty, taking in the surroundings and then quietly left to let her bandmates pleasures us with their sonic assaults.

For the encore, Slowdive chose “Rutti” from Pygmalion and parted with “40 Days.” Countless guitars were exchanged during the show and Goswell even commented, “So many guitars.” Some of us stuck around for few minutes, wondering if the Brits would treat us to ONE more. But I couldn’t think of what could possibly follow “40 Days.” And as anticlimactic (because their music take you into the heights where you don’t know how to come down) as Slowdive can be, it couldn’t also been more perfect.

Lots more photos after the jump!

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