Aaron Starkie The Slow Readers Club Quadtych - © Paul Husband
The Slow Readers Club - O2 manchester ©Paul Husband
Aaron Starkie The Slow Readers Club Quadtych - © Paul Husband
Aaron Starkie, The Slow Readers Club – ©Paul Husband

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.

Larkins O2 Ritz Manchester

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.

Larkins In Full Flow O2 Ritz Manchester
Larkins In Full Flow

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.

Puppet Rebellion O2 Ritz Manchester
Puppet Rebellion

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.

The Slow Readers Club O2 Ritz Manchester
The Slow Readers Club

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.

Aaron Starkie - The Slow Readers Club
Aaron Starkie

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

Larkins Play

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.


Larkins are on Facebook an Twitterand their Soundcloud is Here

Puppet Rebellion are on Facebook and Twitter

The Slow Readers Club are on Facebook and Twitter and their website is Here

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

Use of these photographs or any part of this article is illegal. If you wish to use anything please contact Louder Than War, the writer and the photographer directly.

Previous articleNew Artist of the Day: Underground Empire
Next articleIt’s All True – The Lemonheads’ ‘Car Button Cloth’ Turns 20
Nigel is Interviews & Features Editor at Louder Than War, freelance writer and reviewer. He has a huge passion for live music and is a strong supporter of the Manchester music scene. With a career in eCommerce, Nigel is a Digital Marketing consultant and runs his own agency, Carousel Projects specialising in SEO and PPC. He is also co-owner and Editor at M56 Media/Hale & Altrincham Life, and a Presenter on Radio Alty.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here