Gary Hocking strongly advises grabbing a ticket for one of Slow Readers Club’s May tour dates while you can.
Saturday evening saw Mancunian rising stars The Slow Readers Club headline a sold-out gig at the Brudenell Social club ahead of the release of their new album ‘Build A Tower’. Support came in the form of Skies, a two-piece from Folkestone. With a healthy queue greeting me as I arrived at the venue, I had a feeling I was about to witness something special.
Mere minutes after doors opening, the eager crowd had already filled the room and Skies took to the stage. Comprising of lead vocalist and guitarist Alie and drummer/second vocalist Jericho, they played an interesting hybrid of indie, rock, emo and electronica, with a nod to the mid-late 00s new rave sounds.
The first thing that struck me was how dynamic and all-encompassing they sounded as a two-piece, showcasing a wonderful chemistry on stage that was extremely uplifting to watch. Personal highlights of the set were the songs ‘Pills’, ‘Green’ and an excellent cover of the Enter Shikari anthem ‘Live Outside’ – all executed with a slick and animated sophistication, effortlessly blending heavier influences with fuzzy pop sensibilities.
Despite being relatively different in terms of sound to The Slow Readers Club, there was no loss of enthusiasm or interaction from the vastly diverse audience, who embraced the band with commendable applause and dancing at every opportunity. As each song ended Alie and Jericho thanked the fans for their appreciation and there is no doubt that they left a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to see them that night.
Although Skies are a fairly new band, they have already forged a meaningful sound that feels both nostalgic and contemporary. With reflective lyrics, melodic riffing, thunderous drums and huge vocal hooks, it is obvious to me that everyone can find a little bit of something they love in this charming and humble band. I’m sure the best from them is yet to come, so keep your eyes peeled for their releases and subsequent tours in the future.
After a brief changeover, the crowd began roaring as the lights went down and it was finally time to see the much anticipated headline set.
Opening the show with ‘Lunatic’ from the soon to be released album ‘Build A Tower’ proved to be a wise choice, given the joyous reaction from the crowd, and delivered a suitable first insight into the feel of the new material. The band looked thrilled to be greeted with such a warm welcome in a packed out venue and this only aided in intensifying the performance that followed.
As the set progressed we were gifted with a varied set featuring a plethora of new songs amongst old classics, namely ‘Sirens’ and ‘Plant the Seed’, during which the enraptured crowd erupted in an explosion of movement. In my 10+ years of going to concerts I have seldom seen such profound interaction between a band and their fans, with each and every word being sung back to them and uplifting cheer flowing through the room at each opportunity. Vocalist Aaron Starkie owned the stage with his compelling presence and dramatic vocal delivery.
Impressively, The Slow Readers Club have conjured up the sort of frenzied excitement and adoration typically only seen at arena concerts, and it was fantastic to witness, given that they are still in the first decade of their career. In a modern musical landscape so over-saturated, you have to admire a band that can find their niche and ultimately take it to the next level. It is genuinely exciting to contemplate where their music will take them at this stage, with such a dedicated fan base at just 2, soon to be 3 albums in.
‘Block Out the Sun’ proved to be another highlight of the set, a dark yet poignant song that perfectly encapsulates the band’s 80s influenced doom-pop sound. Once again, the band are visibly moved by the energetic crowd interaction and each section is met with waves of chanting and applause.
Ending the set with an emotional 3 song journey, including fan favourite ‘Cavalcade’, new instant classic ‘You Opened Up My Heart’ and increasingly apt ‘Forever in Your Debt’, the band solidified their place at the forefront of the North’s ever-evolving music scene.
Catch the band live along with Skies on selected dates on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 11th,12th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th May in Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, Hull, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Norwich, Northwich, London and Stoke respectively. A few shows are already sold out and a few close to being sold out, so act quickly if you would like to catch this highly recommended tour!
You can also pre-order the new album from www.theslowreadersclub.co.uk/pre-order-build-a-tower in a variety of exclusive and limited formats.
Gary writes for Leeds Living on contemporary music, being an avid goer of gigs and a supporter of local talent.