Tuesday, October 06, 2009

SLOW CLUB @ MOHO LIVE 6 October 2009

Mrs A knows I have a weakness for women who play the drums (Meg White being the exception that proves the rule). She also knew that I was going to see Slow Club tonight. But I didn't reveal that the in the duo of Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor, who are Slow Club, Rebecca plays the drums. She not only drums but she drums STANDING UP. I do not think of this as subterfuge but I suspect my drooling admiration and the excess of photographs of Rebecca (did I mention that she drums? STANDING UP?) may be used against me at some point in the future in a divorce case. Whatever my private weaknesses, this gig was so much more than just the drumming - impressive though it was.

Given their songs veer from loud folkabilly skiffle-pop to pin-drop-quiet heartbreak, I was intrigued to see how Slow Club would fare live, especially at MoHo Live which is a functional but fairly charmless, quasi-industrial aesthetic basement. Well Slow Club started the gig by ignoring the stage completely: they began the set from the middle of the crowd. They elbowed they way in with acoustic guitar and gave us 'Wild Blue Milk' before making their way on to the stage and launching into 'Giving Up On Love'. On album this has a full-band feel, but even these louder numbers performed just on drums and amplified acoustic (or occasional electric) guitar had a surprisingly amount of 'oomph' behind. There's a loose, ramshackle feel to them (false starts, occasional missed notes or drumbeat) but precision-perfect-delivery is not what Slow Club live is about. And all the better for it.

The apparent casual approach mixed with the rambling amiable banter (tales of farting in tour vans, coping with sweaty fringes, a mini-tour diary of sorts: "Derby was rubbish, Milton Keynes was rubbish, this is alright though") reproduces not the sound of their debut album but its affable charm. Charles and Rebecca are natural, unpretentious and a pair of total charmers. No-one was going to complain when they asked us to sing 'Happy Birthday' to "tour manageress" Caz.

In my last post about Slow Club (a poor piece of scheduling? Or carefully planned preview piece?) I declared that 'When I Go' was my favourite Slow Club song. And the one that left with weak at knees. Well after tonight that affection has now been transferred to 'Boys On Their Birthdays', the 'secret' track at end of "Yeah So". (I now know this is its title rather than 'secret track' by asking Charles at the end). This is one of those slow, sad numbers sung solo by Rebecca accompanying herself on guitar (She plays guitar too!!). It was jaw-droppingly beautiful. As with the other quieter songs tonight, Slow Club ably managed the transition from louder songs to these more poignant and moving ones. An impressive trick to pull off live.

To finish it off, Slow Club had one more trick up their sleeves. They took us outside to the carpark and performed 'Christmas TV' on acoustic guitars whilst standing on a wall. A song about loneliness, performed in the Manchester drizzle, under the orange glow of the street lamps. It was magical.

A evening full of charms then which left me going home with a big dopey grin on my face. Don't miss them. The tour continues this week with dates each night until Saturday. 'Trophy Room' is released on Monday but you can pre-order it now

The Set List:

Wild Blue Milk
Giving Up On Love
I Was Unconscious, It Was A Dream
Because We're Dead
There Is No Good Way To Say I Am Leaving You
Sorry About The Doom
If We're Still Alive
Dance 'Til The Morning Light
When I Go
Boys On Their Birthdays
It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful
Trophy Room
Christmas TV

Slow Club
Yeah So [BUY]


Matthew Britton said...

loved the secret track - it's because of all the crunking I've been doing is such an excellent line, but i'd forgotten it, so it made me laugh out loud.

High Priestess of Punk-chew-ation said...

Sweetie, if I'm ever going to divorce you, it won't be because of your penchant for girls who do it standing up, but because of the OTHER penchant. You know, the one we can't mention here just in case they're still watching you.