Smile Politely

What’s in a shoegaze reunion?

A recently-reunited RIDE will grace the Pygmalion outdoor stage on Sunday — an exciting prospect for 90s shoegaze fans. But this isn’t the first time they got their pedal cords in a twist over recent reunions. C-U is surely a hotspot of shoegaze — HUM hail from this place after all — so it’s a fitting stop on a reunion tour. But why even bother checking out a band from the past? Well, I for one have found all my shoegaze reunion show experiences rewarding.


One of the first live shoegaze shows I’ve attended was HUM’s set at Pygmalion 2012. After Sleigh Bells cancelled for what I think was a skateboarding accident, if I am remembering correctly, HUM took their spot headlining the Canopy Club show. I harbor a strong dislike for the garbage music Sleigh Bells make (They’ve fallen out of the spotlight too. Huh.), so I was happy to see one of C-U’s finest take their place. It was especially cool to see them play considering they rarely get together to play live. Lately, however, that’s changed since they’ve been touring the summer circuit. 

My Bloody Valentine

My 2013 album of the year was My Bloody Valentine’s m b v. Although the band had been touring on and off, m b v was a long-awaited follow-up to the most revered album in shoegaze, if not the whole sphere of indie rock, 1991’s Loveless. Seeing them play the new songs along with songs off Loveless and others made the reunion worthwhile, it seemed, for the band as well as their fans.


Slowdive is working on new music right now, and since they are perfect and can do no wrong, I am confident in its quality. One of the most magical sets I’ve ever seen was Slowdive performing at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago in 2014. I was pretty much left speechless, and therefore don’t have much else to say on the matter.


Out of nowhere, Boston’s Swirlies got back together to play some shows this year as well. One of them was at a free street festival in Chicago. Where HUM is space-rock, MBV is noise and Slowdive is ambient (and RIDE is brit-pop) Swirlies is experimental. Their live show brought out the experimental elements of their songs, including knob twiddling and some complex guitar work, that I had never bothered to listen to before.


Finally, RIDE is playing Pygmalion this year — one of my most anticipated performances of the festival. They are probably the poppiest of all the shoegaze bands I’ve mentioned in this article, so I’m expecting an energetic set full of hits off their first two albums Nowhere and Going Blank Again. If they follow suit with past shoegaze reunions, theirs will not be a show to miss.

Catch RIDE at the Highdive Outdoor Annex on Sunday at Pygmalion. Tickets are on sale at the door, and available now via

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