Slow Club

Slow Club


The dulcet tones of the Bard of Salford, John Cooper Clarke, drift over Band on the Wall’s PA as we wait for the arrival of Slow Club. They stride onto stage and start, appropriately enough, with ‘Come On Poet’, the brooding centrepiece of this year’s album One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore. It demonstrates ably just quite how far they’ve come as a band in ten years. Musically, that is, if not geographically: the first time I saw them they were a two-piece playing their awkward, quirky anti-folk supporting Hot Club de Paris at the Night & Day Cafe around the corner. Band on the Wall’s smart, stylish décor reflects the gorgeous, soulful pop sound that they’ve since grown into, but their sense of humour is still very much intact; the song ends with singer Rebecca Taylor giving two thumbs up. ‘Beginners’ highlights the differences in approaches of the front pair of Taylor and Charles Watson. As they sing together, Watson swoons to the song’s chiming riff while Taylor seems to snarl each word.

The crowd is rowdy tonight, shouting about it being Friday night and Hallowe’en weekend, but they are hushed for the pin drop intro to ‘Rebecca Casanova’. The song ebbs and swells to a triumphant ending, so no end of confusion is caused when the entire band bar Watson leave the stage. He begins a solo version of ‘Sweetest Grape on the Vine’ but the beginning is almost drowned out by chatter, making the lyric “I just need to know I’m useful three to five days a week” even sadder. That is, until someone at the back shouts for them to shut up. Watson carries on as if he hasn’t noticed but thanks the man with the loud voice at the end of the song, then departs the stage himself for Taylor to play third album Complete Surrender highlight ‘Not Mine To Love’ alone. She gets as far as the chorus before breaking into laughter at how out of tune her guitar is, stopping the song. Someone shouts for her to be proud of her art which only serves to tickle her further. “That’s the problem, I’m too proud of my art”, she says, “My art’s fucking brilliant.” She says it in jest, but she’s right; the vocal gymnastics on display on this all-but-empty stage beg the question why they’re not bigger as a band.

Maybe they just don’t want to be. The biggest singalong of the night comes from oldie ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’ and then Taylor returns to her old place behind the drumkit for ‘Tattoo of the King’ and ‘Everything Is New’. The latter is a real highlight, the whole band straining for the high notes, and it’s only beaten by the country-fried ‘In Waves’, which begins with Taylor’s explanation that it’s “about checking the internet too much” and ends with an almost boogie-woogie keyboard outro. The rest of the band’s reaction seems to suggest this was pretty unplanned, too, as they grin with delight. Main set closer The Queen’s Nose’ is a celebration.

As Taylor and Watson return to the stage for the encore, they play a mournful, stripped back version of ‘Two Cousins’, swapping verses from opposite ends of the stage as Watson plays the keyboard. They may be singing to “Hold on to where you’re from” but Taylor declares her love for Manchester as it ends, deciding that she wants to move here and get a part on Coronation Street. As the rest of their band returns for ‘Suffering You, Suffering Me’ it’s clear that Slow Club are a band at the height of their power. They’ve come this far, who’s to say where they’ll go next?

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Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at if you want (you should).