Once Levitation Fest wasn’t on anymore, the question soon turned into if the bands would still play. Chief among these were British shoegazers Slowdive, who would have been Friday night’s headliners, and played a show at Scoot Inn instead. Fans lined up in the early afternoon, although tickets were later sold online, not at the door.
Some Slowdive fans weren’t going to let inconveniences like an entire festival canceling and makeups show tickets selling out quick prevent them from seeing the show. Some took over a construction vehicle and gazed from it, others took to perches just outside the venue closer to the stage. Their resourcefulness was inspiring, and turned what could have been a hostile and tense night into a celebration of soldiering on even when everything gets completely turned upside down.
They weren’t gonna miss a chance to see shoegaze legends in the flesh, as they – and everyone there – may not have another chance. Even though they were further away than most of the crowd, this was as close to an intimate Levitation headlining performance as anyone was gonna get. As the band leans toward more of the pop side of shoegaze, they were ideal headliners, showcasing their psych-pop roots in their blissed out songs. “Crazy For You” was an exploration into formless beauty, while “Machine Gun” and “When The Sun Hits,” especially the latter’s sprightly guitar lines, had them flex their pop charms. Scoot Inn was surprisingly resonant for this sort of sound, letting it breathe without compromising its textual lushness or obscuring the hooks beneath. Everyone was disarmed from their playing, and whatever hostility was present earlier was confined to Levitation Fest’s Facebook page.
“Alison,” the woozy love ballad that’s also Slowdive’s most well-known song, was slightly delayed due to techs bringing out the wrong guitars. Seeing as shoegazers are known to be very particular about their gear, this seemed off. It did not diminish the song’s beauty, especially the harmonies in the chorus from singers Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell. “Alison” was the song everyone needed that night, something to relieve the pain from the day (or at least give couples their makeout song for the night). Had Levitation gone as planned, that mixup beforehand might have been the biggest flub of the night. After a hectic day like this, the crowd was much more forgiving of technical difficulties. The show ended with a flury of rainbow psychedelic lights and someone in the crowd blowing bubbles into the air, which seemed absurd and almost aloof to the events of the day, but gave what was a second chance for locals a real Levitation feel. Nobody left angry. Then again, if you were able to get a ticket, you checked in your anger at the door.