Settling into my seat at the Pleasance theatre I was aware that Valentine’s day, in all its brash consumerist glory, would never be the most suitable time for the heart-trampled ballads of Slow Club. An irony that singer Rebecca Taylor later indulges in with the announcement of “Dependable People”, a song about “a shit boyfriend I used to have”. As one of the few dateless members of the room I find the blunt honesty of the statement more than reassuring.
The night began with the charmingly awkward support act, Happyness. Rolling bass lines and fuzzy vocal distortion are reminiscent of Pavement and Wilco. Singer Jonny Allan draws attention to the weirdness of a seated rock concert by joining us on the floor for “Baby, Jesus(Jelly Boy)” in mock intimacy, mimicking the nonchalant attitudes to performance present in the bands that inspire their music. Finishing on the softly crafted “Montreal Rock Band Somewhere” they leave the audience suitably captivated by their ‘lo-fi’ stylings.
Slow Club kicked off their own set with “Tears of Joy”, to rapturous applause, for which the band seem genuinely grateful. After almost every song Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor (the duo behind the music) engage the crowd in heartfelt anecdotes making the seated gig in a cold room feel far more warm and intimate than I had expected.
Throughout the night Taylor’s boundless energy pulls the audience through a dazzling selection of the band’s finest songs across all three albums. A particular highlight being “Our Most Brilliant Friends”, where it is suggested by the singer that, “you might want to get off your feet and dance or something” – advice which is eagerly taken. In comparison, Watson stands quiet and unassuming on stage, allowing Taylor to astound the crowd with her remarkable voice. They allow themselves to seamlessly shift from high energy twee folk-pop to soulful tortured ballads. Their set surprisingly suited the calm, somewhat outdated Pleasance theatre, as they effortlessly brought the crowd to their feet multiple times throughout the night.
When “Two Cousins” hits the room the whole crowd stands to attention. Taylor’s strong bluesy voice silences the crowd and dance moves fall from a beautiful, disparate drum beat and piercing synth riff. There is no doubt that Slow Club are a brilliant, endearing live band with so much to give.
A bizarre second encore rounded off the night in charming fashion as all four members walked out with acoustic guitars (Charles taking a seat due to back pain) and arranged themselves in bohemian rhapsody fashion, belting out – without any microphones – “The Pieces” from their newest album. This will go down as one of my warmest memories from any live concert. The audience joined in for the chorus turning a charming song into a beautiful desperate call for love as the line “Where’s my friend I miss her” hangs in the air.
With such an extensive list of strong songs in their back pocket, Slow Club were never going to disappoint but it was surprising they didn’t indulge more, giving us only an hour or so of their soulful indie-pop.