Cate Le BonEdit this event
Having only a crowd of about 100, it's a good thing that Slow Club do 'intimate' so well. Some artists, typically solo singer-songwriter types, fashion an intimate atmosphere through hushed arrangements, the kind that almost having you leaning in for a closer listen. Slow Club create intimacy through their fantastic rapport with crowd, and at times, through actual proximity, performing their opening and closing tracks in the audience.
Though opening with non-album tune 'Wild Blue Milk' in this manner seemed to slightly stun the Aberdeen crowd, by the time 'Christmas TV' concluded their set in the same way there was even some tentative singing along at Rebecca Taylor's request. It's a brave and bold way to begin any gig and should be enough dispel any misgivings that Slow Club are a couple of twee-as-fuck shrinking violets, although anybody who has heard their debut album Yeah So will already know this to be a gross over-simplification. If they are indeed 'twee' then it's of the rough-hewn C86 type mixed with gentle folk-pop as opposed to the all out cutesy and cloying variety. A brusque rendition of 'Giving Up On Love' (their first song upon actually reaching the stage) brimmed with the harmony-laden indie-pop fervour of The Vaselines, while the foot-stomping folksiness of 'It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful' was similarly more energetic in a live setting. The romantic waltz of 'Apples and Pairs' and the acoustic shuffle of 'Dance 'Till the Morning Light', meanwhile demonstrated the duos heart-warming side.
The crowd were treated to tales about the pair's previous visit to Aberdeen and being left in the lurch by their tour manager, and at times the stage banter and general antics almost threatened to overshadow the music. At one point they asked that the lights be dimmed, unaware that the controls were actually onstage which resulted in Rebecca fiddling with the switches while a member of venue staff and support act Cate Le Bon yelled instructions. Some might have found themselves irritated by the way 'When I Go' fell apart as Rebecca collapsed into a giggling fit at hearing too much of Charles "horrible voice" in her monitor, but to the duo's casual approach was endearing, and the song sounded impressively poignant once resumed. Similarly, 'There Is No Good Way To Say I'm Leaving You' wasn't done any harm by Rebecca nipping to the toilet and leaving Charles to sing most of it alone, until she returned to provide harmonies near its conclusion. Despite the shambolic nature of much of the set it certainly wasn't for lack of ability; Watson's guitar carried most the songs with impressive technique and speed, although his drumming on penultimate song 'Our Most Brilliant Friends' was humorously suspect.
Ultimately it's the chemistry that two members of Slow Club have with each other, and with the audience, that makes them such an enjoyable proposition live. They clearly have a lot of fun with playing and it's a joyousness which spills out into the audience an engulfs it. They make the audience feel like they are part of their club and if there's any justice it is a club which should just keep on getting bigger.
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