The Bowery Ballroom, New York City, NY • February 17, 2001
The worst part about breaking up is that stage when you endure the new personalities your ex becomes. You watch from the stalls as the person who kissed you, showered with you, and napped with you has now decided that although those things were great, it was time to move on. We fool ourselves that another person will fill that void. This is heart-shattering in relationships, but it can often be worse in music.
Mojave 3 is to music as the new person you•re seeing is to the person who just broke your heart. It can be difficult to review a show when members of your favorite bands are performing in a different but comfortable outfit. You see, on most days, Slowdive is my favorite band, and Chapterhouse is in the Top 20.
Mojave 3•s first few songs were the superb, tortured, folksy tunes they have been churning out since the end of the British shoegaze explosion of the early ’90s. Reverb, dance beats, flanger, and fuzz have been replaced by acoustic guitars and country-western twangs. I had hoped that maybe on this one night, in front of about 1000 New Yorkers, Mojave 3 would remember what enthralled a pill-popping generation.
The only aspects that remained the same are the sadness and the layered, warm vocals. Rachel Goswell kept pointing for her vocals to be raised, and songsmith Neil Halstead kept looking around for what was causing the phantom crackling sound. Minor sound problems aside, Mojave 3 performed 15 or so samey songs for a little more than an hour. I guess that when you pay $15 for a show in a big city, there must be some contract or guilt against performing short sets. (There was also some Gestapo agent who put his hand in front of my lens, proclaiming that cameras were banned that evening). I didn•t need the encore, but I suppose most people get over the past better than I ever will. It is hard to see a person you used to love with someone else. Oh, Slowdive, why?