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My Bloody Valentine at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (23/8/2013)

25 Aug

My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine was one of the bands to define shoegaze back in the late 1980s and 1991’s Loveless is still probably the greatest example of that alternative rock subgenre ever to be created. They broke up for quite a while, but 2013 marked their first album in 12 years, m b v and a worldwide tour that took them to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

Their performance was exactly what one would expect from one of the bands that defined shoegaze. It was very loud, rather repetitive and had almost no talking. There was one intelligible piece of crowd interaction in the concert and that was to tell us that the next song was to be the last. When playing to a crowd, you have to deal with both the luxury and tyranny of the crowd’s undivided attention. It is your chance to really engage with your crowd, and during the concert I spent more time thinking about work than the music itself.

These complaints may seem unavoidable when dealing with shoegaze, but even if they artists refuse to interact with the crowd, their music should. It is their job to create a journey for you to travel through over their concert, and it was not only difficult, but also unrewarding to fall into the flow of this performance. There were some great moments over the three and a half hours of the concert and three songs, including my personal favorite Soon, were excellent. Taken as a whole, it was a good concert, but I expected better from alternative rock royalty like My Bloody Valentine.

There are bands who are better in the studio than on the stage and sadly My Bloody Valentine has proven to be one of them. This was a fine concert, just not a great one.

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