“Yaaaay, another slow song about my feelings. Yay”, shouts Rebecca Taylor as she welcomes Charles Watson, her Slow Club partner, and two touring band-mates back to the stage. The stage in question, with this being a functioning church, is an alter replete with flickering candles and atmospheric lighting gels. Taylors exclamation is a perfect snapshot of Slow Club’s performance tonight; deliberate, wry, knowing, self-deprecating and utterly charming.
The Sheffield duo start the night with ‘Tears of Joy’ from last year’s Complete Surrender. There are clearly some issues with sound as the levels sweep from muffled to shrill, but this is one of the otherwise unavoidable flys in the ointment where ‘non-venue’ venues are concerned. It makes no difference, really, to the night’s proceedings. Taylor and Watson are so naturally funny, talented and gifted with easy demeanor that they could get away with almost anything. That is not to say that there was anything to be ‘gotten away with’ so to speak. The whole gig is captivating and ethereal in equal measure. As the band’s three albums attest, there are enough playful swipes at varying genres to ensure that Slow Club can play any style and avoid lazy categorisation; something they look like they wear as a badge of honour. Rebecca Taylor sings like a diva, looks like movie star and moves like a cat as Charles Watson, without being as sultry, provides focus in a completely different way. His guitar playing is far more intricate tonight that you would guess from the recordings and his delicate vocals have all the white-boy-soul of a young Kevin Rowland.
As Taylor steps up for a solo performance of ‘Not Mine To Love’ she makes reference to the politeness of the crowd before effectively stunning them with a flawless vocal performance. When Charles Taylor takes his solo turn, performing ‘Paraguay and Panama’, he is just as disarming and sounds in equally fine fettle. “Slowies and fasties” are intermittently swapped around much the same as the band’s instruments are for ‘Beginners’, ‘The Queen’s Noise’ and ‘Wanderer Wandering’; all of which are excellent before ‘Suffering You Suffering Me’ brings the set proper to a close. Taylor takes great delight in ragging on Charles Watson’s apparent lack of rock and roll credentials as he explains the story of his wine soaked jeans. All the while there are fits of giggles and failed attempts at intros but not once do the smiles and general good cheer abate.
Returning for the first of two encores, the band play a decidedly fan adored ‘Two Cousins’ before returning to the front of the altar for an unplugged version of ‘The Pieces’. A special mention to Tandem Felix, the night’s opening act, who not only surprised a great many here tonight, they have positively won them over.