The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'neil halstead'


WIRED talks to Neil Halstead about the recent resurgence of interest in shoegazer, and it appears that he's still not keen to be part of it:

Halstead: No, there are no plans to get Slowdive back together. We had a lot of pedals, a lot of love and some good grass. When the love ran out, we sold the grass and smoked the pedals.
The article also mentions an upcoming documentary on shoegazer titled Beautiful Noise, whose production company's page is here, though contains nothing other than a rather apposite-looking graphic.

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I went to the Neil Halstead gig at the Evelyn. First up was a local band named I Panic, whom I hadn't seen before. I caught only their last song, but was impressed. They consisted of a girl singing through reverb and delays, and two guys playing guitars (one strumming an acoustic and one playing an electric), and sounded a bit like Love Spirals Downwards before they went drum'n'bass. I'll have to look out for them.

Next up was Sodastream; I missed most of their set, running home to get a Slowdive CD for Neil to autograph. Then Neil came on; he sat on a chair, playing an acoustic guitar and harmonica and singing softly into the microphone. One song into the show, he snapped a string on his guitar and had to borrow one from Sodastream. He did mostly his recent repertoire, in acoustic folk style, and was joined by the bassist from Sodastream and a violinist named Kelly for two songs.

And no, he didn't play any Slowdive-era tunes; which was a little disappointing (after all, where would we be if Morrissey didn't play any Smiths songs in his sets?), but on reflection, understandable. Most Slowdive songs would not translate very easily to solo acoustic-guitar performance, and the ones which would tend to be like cruder versions of Mojave 3 numbers. People in the audience kept calling out requests ("Alison", "Catch The Breeze", "Dagger"), but Neil politely turned them down. Well, it shows that he's not doing this to cash in.

I got to speak briefly with Neil (I bought the Seasons EP from him, and only found out later that the chap behind the table who looked like a young surfer-dude Kenny Rogers and was somewhat unfamiliar with Australian banknotes was him), and he seems like a very friendly, approachable person, with a disarming humility and warmth about him.

(Alas, it also turns out that the rumours about Pygmalion being rereleased are untrue; Sony still own the rights, it's too small fry for them to release, and neither 4AD nor any other more suitable label has managed to acquire it (or necessarily attempted to). Pity; in my opinion, it is a classic and more people should be able to hear it than can afford the extortionate eBay prices.)

(Aside: I must confess that I don't like the Evelyn as a venue much. For one, you'd think that the overpriced drinks (A$7.50 for a can of Guinness? No thanks) would allow them to put hand dryers in the toilets, but you'd be wrong. And then there's the high wank factor of the Beautiful People(tm) who make it their home.)

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A piece about Neil Halstead's gig tomorrow night. The rumours of him playing material from all seven albums of his career (which would include the 3 Slowdive albums) certainly sound exciting. Hope it's not just Dagger (the only Slowdive song Mojave 3 do live). (ta, Cos)

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Just heard this on Far And Wide: Neil Halstead is coming to Melbourne, and playing a gig at the Evelyn in early December. I'll probably go to see that, even though it's infinitesimally unlikely to go into the sort of luscious, immersive wall of noise that was Slowdive, instead staying firmly in AM-radio easy-listening territory.

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This afternoon, I got a message from Cos, saying that he picked up the new Neil Halstead album at Second Spin in Balaclava. So I caught a tram and a train down there, and picked up a copy, as well as second-hand copies of:

  • Ivy, Apartment Life (which I had had my eye on for a while)
  • Lush, Gala (the early EP compilation; now I've got everything Lush ever released, save for some obscure remixes*).

Being on a tight budget, I didn't pick up everything I found there; I didn't get The Sundays' Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (which didn't sound too bad, in a slightly Cocteau Twins-ish sort of way), the last Mojave 3 album, an album by Bandulu (who did a good remix of Slowdive's In Mind, though their own work sounded like fairly standard dub/electronica), or Ryuichi Sakamoto's 1996 compilation.

* such as the DJ Spooky mix of Undertow, which I'd love to get my hands on.

ivy lush neil halstead slowdive 1

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