Review: Slow Club at Brudenell Social Club

By July 25, 2014

Music. Leeds.


Ever had one of those days where things don’t go to plan? Well, we all know that in these most ill-fated times of misfortune, it is always more frustrating when the plan is actually a really good one.

I only mention this because the first thing that has to be said about Slow Club’s recent performance at the Brudenell, is that it was plagued by technical difficulties (at one point I actually questioned whether the sound of feedback was an intentional addition to the band’s new sound). However, this statement must be accompanied by the fact that both Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson dealt with these issues with a surprisingly calm sense of professionalism. They didn’t let it affect their performance, throw a tantrum, or allow huge gaps of deafening silence. Instead, the band (particularly Rebecca) chatted to the audience, with a heart-warmingly self-deprecating display of wit.

This not only served to further endear the mostly fan filled crowd to Slow Club, it also highlighted the level of talent on display. Even while dealing with technical glitches, the band sounded great. Yet, when their set reached its high points the audience was treated to something powerful, uplifting, and striking. Complete Surrender and Suffering You, Suffering Me vividly displayed the shift in sound on their forthcoming LP. Simultaneously being more energetic and commercially nostalgic, both tracks continued to show the quality of Taylor and Watson’s song writing.

While the latter stylistically channels lesser known 60s soul groups (like The Shellets, and Dianne Brooks), the former utilises more popular elements from this genre to create one of the most exciting songs of the year. Justifiably then, these two stand-out singles have focused the expectant gaze of the music industry on this formally ‘twee’ two piece.

As Slow Club’s performance continued, another stand out feature was the breadth of musicianship that they possess. Swapping instruments more times than The Bees, Taylor and Watson, particularly, displayed their abilities as multi-instrumentalists. Not only did this bring a great sense of diversity to their performance, it also highlighted a co-operative work ethic that belies the ego of most singer/songwriters. More than comfortable to take a step back, Taylor allowed Watson’s folky guitar picking and gentle vocals (that resemble Arcade Fire’s Win Butler at his most peaceful) to shine on Paraguay and Panama. Then the favour was returned, as Watson retreated to allow Taylor’s awe-inspiring voice to cut through the room on Dependable People and Things That I’m Sure of – not before she’d comically conceded the track has an unnecessarily long title.

After giving the crowd a hand full of reasons to buy their new album, Slow Club ended their set with an ironic exit and a not so surprising encore –which including the fabulous Two Cousins followed by a genuine display of gratitude to the Brudenell Social Club and its audience.

Although the duo did make light of the expectations placed on them going forward, as well as the fact that everything didn’t go to plan, their performance was a refreshing display of the great songs that feature on Complete Surrender, released on 14th July.

Sinclaire Belle

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