14 January 2005
Shoegazers don’t die, they pick up an acoustic guitar and get on with life. Mark Gardener of Ride has done it, Adam Franklin of Swervedriver has done it and so has Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel. In fact all three of them got together and did a show at San Diego’s M-Theory records back in 2005. This is the second time in about a year that Dickinson has been through Seattle (he played the Croc last January).
It was just Rob, an acoustic guitar, some effects pedals and a harmonica. The Tractor was sit down style for this show, and it seemed like the audience was full of genuine fans. Camera flashes were going off like it was the Olympic figure skating long show, and people were yelling out old Catherine Wheel songs left and right. Dickinson acknowledged a few requests, not by playing them, but by saying, “that’s a good one!”
Dickinson pulled songs from every Catherine Wheel album, but also did a fare share from his solo record Fresh Wine for Horses. I’ll admit I was there to hear the Catherine Wheel songs. Fresh Wine for Horses is an okay record but the songs on it don’t come close to most of the Catherine Wheel discography. I would have been happy hearing him do all of Adam and Eve, the criminally overlooked 1997 record (overshadowed at the time by Radiohead’s OK, Computer). The two songs he did from Adam & Eve (Delicious and Future Boy) both translated well to his acoustic guitar. For that matter, all the songs last night lost nothing in their acoustic form, which I think, pays tribute to Dickinson’s and Catherine Wheel’s song writing. Actually, I think all of the shoegaze bands from the early 90’s have been overlooked for their excellent songs that they wrote. It’s like all of today’s shoegaze revivalists/imitators have got the sound down, read pedals and distortion, but the songs are most often missing. Dickinson showed us again and again last night with Crank, I Want to Touch You, Black Metallic how many great songs he’s written. Even the stuff from his solo album was captivating, though I’m still not sold on the album.
Rob is making his way down the west coast and then jumping over to Toronto for a gig. Maybe he’ll be back this summer. Think of what a great package it would be to get the likes of Catherine Wheel, Ride, Swervedriver, Chapterhouse, Boo Radleys, Revolver, Moose, and headliners MBV. So bring on the acoustic shoegazers!