It's 5:14 PM and I am pressed against the front of the barrier to the side of the stage waiting for Slowdive’s set. Schoolboy Q fans are gone—people wearing bucket hats have been replaced with people wearing black (like me), even though Slowdive won’t be taking the stage for over another hour.
Having just announced extended tour dates since reuniting just two months ago, Slowdive was one of the most anticipated performances of Pitchfork Music Festival this year. They weren’t headlining, but it seemed as if their set time on Sunday at 6:15 PM at the main stage was ultimately the headlining spot of the entire three-day festival. Fast forward to the band opening with the song, "Slowdive," as heads nodded in unison, the sun set behind smoke-y air, and getting teleported into a nostalgic shoegaze k-hole for the next hour.
Throughout their hour-long set, the band was calm and collected, both eager to play yet unassumingly laid back about being the reason why a lot of people flew out to Chicago for the event in the first place. Rachel Goswell, the only lady in the band, came out looking like a literal character out of Zelda, in a dress seemingly made of sequined leaves paired with red pumps. It was as if my entire association with music came together when she announced in her angelic voice, "This one's called Machine Gun," turning the next five minutes into a dream that I didn’t want to end.
Slowdive's set was a tribute to themselves, essentially taking ownership over an entire genre of music that has been regurgitated over and over and over again. Regardless if you care about the band or not, the weight they carry will make them relevant forever—beyond this current trend of celebrating nostalgia and wearing clothes that feel like 1994. I was too young to experience this band during their glory, but that doesn’t matter. Because I saw them. You saw them. We saw them together.
At various moments, the members in the crowd banged their heads together, riding on the same wave to song after song after song—songs that I can assume no one knew the words to. But that’s okay. This is one of the most influential bands of the past two decades of music. No one was there to sing along (because, let’s be real, you don’t know what they are saying), and no one was there to try and prove anything to anyone. We call came together to witness the staple in indie music that is Slowdive. And that rules.
Kayla Monetta is still crying. She's on Twitter — @kaylamomo
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