The Slow Readers Club: O2 Ritz, Manchester – live review
The Slow Readers Club, Puppet Rebellion, Larkins
Manchester, O2 Ritz
18th November 2016
It was a glorious home town gig for Manchester’s The Slow Readers Club on Friday night. Nigel Carr reports back with photos from Paul Husband.
It’s an early start at the 02 Ritz on one of the wettest nights of the year. It’s been raining all week, but tonight is particularly punishing. I arrive with umbrella in hand as Glossop’s Larkins take to the stage.
If looks alone guaranteed success then this band is blessed. Each member sports his own unique style. Front Man Josh’s high cut wedge, guitarist Dom’s Cobain-blonde locks, bassist Henry’s natty dreads and Drummer Matt’s shocking red mop. They already look like bona fide pop stars and ooze confidence and sincerity on stage. Oh, yeh, and in case your wondering, they have the music to match! The whole package, a highly compelling and very watchable combination; commercial indie rock at its best.
Their sound is unashamedly aimed at a younger more pop oriented audience, tightly formed and perfectly delivered. They carefully pace themselves through riff driven tracks including the upbeat and dancy Hit And Run and recent single Velvet, which opens with a neat, punchy riff before building to a rollicking close.
You can feel influences like Foals and Two Door Cinema Club woven through some of these these songs which develop effortlessly in to soaring stadium style anthems. Henry shamelessly showing off with his dreadlocks flailing, delivering the kind bass solos I haven’t heard since Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al!
Josh thanks the audience with a graceful smile after each track. His engaging personality really shining through, despite the demographic being skewed, shall we say? towards the older side.
The band announce their headlining show at Gorilla on February 25th and rather enterprisingly have tickets for sale on the merch. stand at the back of the gig!
There are some similarities with Stockport’s finest, Blossoms, so expect to hear a lot more from Larkins. It may not be too long before they follow in their hugely successful neighbour’s footsteps.
After a mixed set of bass heavy power indie from second support Puppet Rebellion it’s time for The Slow Readers Club. This is the first time I have seen this band who must rank as one of Manchester’s biggest secrets. They have packed the O2 Ritz with the kind of audience normally reserved for acts like Elbow and I am Kloot. I can’t understand how far they have come without been signed.
Dressed all in black, they open with Cavalcade off the album of the same name released earlier this year. It’s a full-on, dense, riff driven mesh with lead singer Aaron Starkie’s beautiful vocals soaring over the top. He’s a humble front man with the voice of an angel, falling somewhere between Yes’s Jon Anderson and Brandon Flowers. Forceful in parts but sweet and delicate when it needs to be. He has this amazing ability to fly up to falsetto and back down again in an instant.
The band describe themselves as ‘dark and brooding electro indie’ but it’s much brighter and more commercial than that. There are guitar parts remind me of early U2 combined with driving rhythms and infectious Killers style melodies underpinned by an electronic wash. The whole effect, a heady mix that you can lose yourself in. The audience responds accordingly, arms aloft feeling the music and singing along, clearly loving every moment.
I love the way that Aaron responds to the adoration being directed at him from the auditorium, marching in front of the mic. arm held high as if in salute. They clearly know what to expect and the band delivers, track after track.
It’s a cracking gig and I head off in to the cold Manchester night wondering why a band this good isn’t, well, huge…
The Slow Readers Club Play:
26th November – London, Oslo, Hackney
6th December – Nottingham, Royal Concert hall
7th December – Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
9th December – Sheffield, O2 Academy
24th November – Manchester CTRL Dive NQ (With October Drift)
29th November – London, O2 Forum (With High Cornwell and John Cooper Clarke)
3rd December – Manchester O2 Ritz (With High Cornwell and John Cooper Clarke)
25th February – Manchester, Gorilla
More dates to be announced.
All words by Nigel Carr. More writing by Nigel on Louder Than War can be found at his Author’s archive. You can find Nigel on Twitter and Facebook and his own Website. All photographs are © by Paul Husband whose website is here: Paul Husband Photography, Twitter and Facebook
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