Video Archive #6: Live at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver 19-May-1992

This is another video recording from their May 1992 tour of the USA. They opened for Ride on this date. This video was taped by the same person who taped their May 18th gig. The video quality is fairly good, but there are some tracking problems/glitches (particularly in the early songs), due to the age of the tape.

Video Archive #5: Live at the VK Club, Brussels 11-December-1991

The picture in this video is a bit grainy due to generational degradation, but it has some good close-up shots of the band members and it even includes some backstage footage of the band after the gig in the last 20 seconds. This video is notable for great performances of Ballad of Sister Sue, Morningrise and Avalyn. The encore song, Jazz Odeon, is a song that was never released and was played live quite briefly around this time. As far as I know this is the only video recording of it.

Video Archive #4: Live at Rock City, Nottingham 5-March-1991

This is the earliest extant video recording of Slowdive playing live that I am aware of. At the time of this gig Slowdive had only released two EPs, with a total of six published songs to their name. It shows a somewhat different band from later years: more reserved, with less movement on stage. We get to see how they played Shine live — a wonderful song that sadly disappeared from their live shows soon after — as well as the great unreleased song Colours in Spin. Also note they play the earlier version of Catch the Breeze with different lyrics and vocal lines.

They opened for Ride at this gig.

 

Video Archive #3: Live at the Town & Country Club, London, 6 June 1991

This is one of the earlier Slowdive video recordings. We get a good sense of the lively, receptive crowds in London at the time. The video is centered on Rachel for nearly the entire gig, and other than a few moments when Christian pops into view, she is pretty much all we see. Unfortunately there is some weird video of jellyfish from around 19:02 until 20:50 in this recording, during Morningrise. I don’t know who put it in there but I left it in because the audio from the gig continues to play during this segment.

Slowdive opened for Chapterhouse at this gig.

Video Archive #2: Live at Harpo’s, Victoria, BC 18-May-1992

This video recording is second generation from the master tape, which was shot with the permission of the band. It has some nice close-ups on all members of the band, though the lighting in the club was quite dim, therefore at times it is difficult to see what is going on. The audio is fairly good, though the drums and bass overload the microphone a bit. This is the only recording I know of in which Rachel introduces Morningrise as “Morning Glory”.

Video Archive #1: Poetic Frenzy

This Poetic Frenzy promo video was made for SBK records in 1991 to promote Slowdive in the USA. It consists of interview segments with Neil, Simon and Nick over a backdrop of two music videos: Shine and Catch the Breeze. (Strangely enough, Shine was never released in the USA by SBK.) Simon’s foretelling of how Slowdive’s future albums would explore a variety of sonic landscapes, and how Just for a Day is just “one colour in the Slowdive rainbow”, is one of the most interesting things on this tape.

“Cargo” and “Cargo (Vox)” Demos

During the Pygmalion sessions Slowdive recorded two versions of a song called Cargo. One is more ambient and electronic, without any vocals. This was released on the recent reissue of Pygmalion that includes a bonus disc of demos. The other version is more organic, with vocals by Rachel and a simple, clear guitar line over an equally simplistic percussive track. This version has never been released. Both can be heard below, and were transferred from my low-generation cassette tapes.

 

Tape Archive #19: Private interview with Rachel, Nick and Christian on 8 April 1994

This interview was taped at Club Babyhead in Providence, Rhode Island, before Slowdive played their set that night. The interview is approximately 25 minutes long and topics covered include Christian’s pre-Slowdive band Eternal, the suicide of Kurt Cobain (who was found dead earlier that day), their current favourite bands, their songwriting process, tour stories, and whether they prefer cats or dogs. Starting at the six minute mark you can hear the opening band Difference Engine — one of the best American shoegaze bands of the early 90s– playing their set in the distance.