Blistering two hour set after a five year live hiatus at this year's Meltdown Festival.
My Bloody Valentine have always been unapologetic in their approach. Whether that be taking over 20 years to produce m b v
, their follow up to 1991's masterpiece Loveless
, creating music that sounds like nobody else, or taking five years away from playing live. That live hiatus came to a blistering end this week as they graced the stage at the eclectic Meltdown Festival
The Royal Festival Hall plays host to the band
in yet another spellbinding performance that does this year's curator Robert Smith proud for the 25th year of the festival. Despite Kevin Shields having previously graced the bill in 2005 when collaborating with Patti Smith for The Coral Sea, this is the first time the band have played, and they made sure they provided a rare treat for fans in a two hour set that contains old favourites and excitingly new songs.
Despite some sound issues that obviously rankle the renowned perfectionist Shields, the set is strewn with epic tracks like 'Only Shallow', 'To Here Knows When' and 'Soon', that demonstrate the band's quintessential laid back, dirge genius. Guitars and vocals bleed together into a delightful wall of indecipherable noise underpinned by the supremely talented back line of Debbie Googe and Colm Ó Cíosóig.
The audience can't contain their delight as they file down the aisles and the entire room stands. They're rewarded as the band drop the tentatively titled 'New Song 1', it's riff repeating throughout nods at a potential heavier future direction. The band clearly still rehearsing the song, as Bilinda Butcher doesn't feature and the rhythm section closely follow Shields for the changes, but it's presence again demonstrates the band aren't afraid to take new steps. This is continued as the band all pick up guitars for the magnificent 'Wonder 2', the sounds echoing around the space before descending into white noise.
Here is a band that makes the soundtrack to a world they've created, a world that is timeless and which we're invited into so they can rejoice in skewing our reality, albeit briefly. Visionaries and completely unique, My Bloody Valentine's live return is clearly very welcomed by all those called to witness.
Photo Credit: Vic Frankowski