This blog has been quiet for a while, and returns with a review of Slow Club’s gig at the Kazimier a few weeks’ back. The delay was caused by going on holiday, and then returning to an ongoing family problem that I won’t go into here, but that meant frippery like this blog took a back seat for a while. The side effect of all this is that this review many not be as detailed (i.e. woolly and verbose) as usual due to the ravages of time…
The evening started off with a quick trip to the Dispensary, where (shock, horror) I found Simon, whose third (?) home it is. Sadly, this is likely to be the last time I bump into him there before a gig as he is now in the midst of a move to Buxton to be the most important man in the arts in that part of the country. We were briefly joined by Ian Prowse before I had to shoot off, who I have seen in concert around twenty times over the last decade or more. He was sporting a very fine moustache as he had just come from the filming of the video for his new First World War-inspired single, “Lest We Forget” off his very good debut solo album “Who Loves Ya Baby”. Then it was off to the Kaz.
Support came from Moats, a young band originally from Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, but now based somewhere between Liverpool and Leeds, cryptically enough. There were some terrible hats on show and a host of skinny black jeans, while the lead guitarist was wearing a truly godawful shirt while dancing quite badly. The coolest member of the band was the bassist – and as he was wearing a baseball cap on back to front, that doesn’t say a lot. The best amongst them musically was the rocksteady drummer who kept them ticking along as they played their own fairly unmemorable brand of indie rock with a hint of shoegaze. They played Gas, Snakepit and Absorb, all of which have been released on their Bandcamp this year, ending with Castaway, which will be on their Rough e.p. due out in October. Not for me, but good luck to them!
Slow Club are one of those bands who I bought an album by many years ago, lost track of and then decided to re-engage with when seeing they were coming to town. I bought their debut “Yeah So” album when it came out in 2009 and enjoyed its tweeness and ridiculous song titles like “There Is No Good Way to Say I Am Leaving You”, “Sorry About The Doom” and “Apples And Pairs”. I only got round to buying the second album, 2011’s poppier “Paradise”, after deciding to go and see them live, while their brand new release, “Complete Surrender”, was due out the week after this gig (yes, that old bugbear reared its ugly head again).
Unsurprisingly, they played a lot from the new album, kicking off with the title track. They came across a bit like a pop diva (not in a haughty way) fronting an all-bearded indie band. They’re officially a two-piece, Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson. She does most but not all of the singing, as well as occasionally getting behind the drum kit and playing very subtle guitar (so subtle on occasion that I wasn’t convinced she was even playing it at times!). Fyfe Dangerfield from Guillemots was on bass in what was apparently his first gig with them, clearly enjoying himself in a pair of bad slacks, while Avvon Chambers was on drums.
After the opener they dipped back into the second album for the single “Beginners” (whose video stars big SC fan Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, fact fans!) and then the sparse, harmony-led “Never Look Back”, sung by Charles. Sound-check issues meant that the organ was out of action, so the opening track off the new album, “Tears Of Joy”, highlighted its lovely guitar lines.
“Not Mine To Love” was a bit of a solo spot for Rebecca, who has a beautiful voice, but unfortunately came across as a tad too MOR for my tastes, but I’ll be interested to hear it when I get around to picking up the new album. They then switched things around with Rebecca hitting the skins and Avvon taking over on guitar for another new, slow song.
Highlights for me included “Horses Jumping” and especially “If We’re Still Alive” off “Paradise” before Charles had a bit of a solo feature with “Paraguay And Panama” (also from “Complete Surrender”). They ended with newies “Suffering You, Suffering Me” and “Wanderer Wandering”, with the latter featuring Rebecca on drums again.
The inevitable encore (unless The Lovely Eggs get their way… though that’s nothing new as The Wedding Present have refused to do them for decades) was the very sad, new “Dependable People And Things That I’m Sure Of” and then a real treat for me, “Two Cousins” from the second album.
I enjoyed seeing Slow Club, taking into account the fact that I didn’t know a large chunk of the set, which might explain the fairly unenthused response of the somewhat thin crowd.
Due to my strong associations of Slow Club with somewhat twee indie music, due to their debut album, I dug out an old favourite (red, of course) t-shirt for Track & Field records (a label referenced in my ‘Are First Albums Always The Best Ones?’ blog and occasional home to bands such as The Broken Family Band, The Essex Green, Herman Düne, The Ladybug Transistor and Of Montreal). Although nowhere near as fey as Sarah, K or Shinkansen, it was probably the twee-est t-shirt I own!