The last time I saw Sheffield’s finest band live was when they played Sheffield Leadmill as part of the Tramlines Festival. It’s safe to say that that night’s performance was overshadowed by technical gremlins so I was more than a little excited to see them again at Sheffield’s Queen’s Social Club.
Slow Club really are Sheffield’s finest band, writing some amazing pop songs with intelligent and poetic lyrics, backed by great tunes and delivered by Charles Watson and Rebecca Lucy Taylor’s incredible vocals and harmonies. They also have a great personality and wit.
Tonight, they finished off their UK tour – in support of their current album ‘Complete Surrender’ – in Sheffield with a stunning performance at the Queen’s Social Club, Think Phoenix Nights and you can imagine the venue. The band even decorated their keyboard with shimmering tinsel trim just so that it could fit in with the lush / garish (you choose) stage backdrop.
The room was stuffed to the gills with an expectant Sheffield audience – the venue had sold out some time ago – and the mix of people a sign of Slow Club’s appeal. They’re a hard band to pigeon hole so best to file under #justgreatmusic.
Support for Slow Club were provided by London threesome Happyness – currently getting some attention from the likes of NME – and whilst they looked like three scruffy teens practicing in their bedroom, their musicianship and catchy songs did impress and most of the audience stayed for their whole set. Their sound was a mixture of Pavement, Sparklehorse, Broken Social Scene and the Eels and if you didn’t know they were from South London you’d think they were from the American Lo-Fi indie scene.
Slow Club’s set covered the majority of ‘Complete Surrender’ along with some numbers from their previous two outings – ‘Paradise’ and ‘Yeah So’. It says a lot about Slow Club that you could put together a great album from the tunes they chose not to play tonight. This reviewer was hoping to hear ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful, Unless It’s Beautiful’ but with so many good songs to choose from you can’t expect to hear them all.
When the band took to the stage, Rebecca was talking to the crowd whilst adjusting her gear and realising that she wasn’t giving eye contact apologised and said: “Sorry, that’s like looking at my phone when kissing you”. Both Charles and Rebecca are incredibly charming and funny and love the interplay with the audience.
‘Tears of Joy’, ‘Never Look Back’ and ‘Complete Surrender’ got the place jumping before all eyes were on Rebecca, alone on the stage with her pearl white guitar singing the quite stunning ‘Not Mine to Love’, a painful song about longing, lust and love for someone you can never be with. Rebecca’s vocals are simply amazing and if this wasn’t a lass from Sheffield in an indie band, but a diva on a major record label, she’d be being lauded as this generation’s vocal talent.
It was then Charles’ turn for a solo stint on stage, singing the plaintive and beautiful ‘Paraguay and Panama’, with the falsetto chorus tugging at everyone’s heart strings. Then Charles hopped onto the keyboard and was joined by Rebecca for ‘Number One’ all lovely harmonies and soft piano.
We continued to be treated to brilliant song after brilliant song with not a duff tune in sight. ‘Beginners’ and ‘The Queen’s Nose’ was followed by ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’, a real crowd favourite with most of the audience singing every word. ‘Everything is New’ and ‘Wander Wandering’ slowed things down a little before the storming finale of ‘Suffering Me, Suffering You’ which was unexpectedly halted as a member of the audience fainted, more than likely due to the heat of the venue. Once we knew the audience member was OK (if a little embarrassed) Rebecca quipped: “It feels like we’re One Direction with the audience fainting – I’m Niall” before Charles retorted “And I’m the others”. This got a big laugh from the audience who urged the band to take it from the top. So they kicked off on their second rendition of ‘Suffering Me, Suffering You’ joking that this was their last song of the evening but would be coming back for an encore of course!
In fact, they came back for two encores, the first including “a slowie and a fastie if that’s alright?” said Rebecca. Who would disagree? They went off and came back on for their second encore which was a really delightful encore with Rebecca, Charles and their drummer and bassist all on acoustic guitar standing on the speakers at the front of the stage to do a stripped down version of ‘The Pieces’ to end the night.
Everyone in the audience would have gladly had an Encore 3 I have no doubt such was the standard of Slow Club’s performance tonight.
Great songs, great vocals, great performance from Sheffield’s greatest living band.
- Tears of Joy
- Never Look Back
- Complete Surrender
- Not Mine To Love
- Paraguay And Panama
- Number One
- The Queen’s Nose
- Our Most Brilliant Friends
- Everything is New
- Wanderer Wandering
- Suffering You, Suffering Me
- (Encore 1) Dependable People and Things That Im sure Of
- (Encore 1) Two Cousins
- (Encore 2) The Pieces