When we hear that The Slow Readers Club are headlining a festival with an hour long set, it's an opportunity not to be missed. As usual, they didn't let us down.
The Far Out Festival, set on Cornfield Farm on the outskirts of Burnley, is primarily a dance festival but they also have a rock stage where The Slow Readers Club were granted a headlining hour long show. For a small festival, the set up is pretty good other than the bizarre shuttle bus that takes you from Manchester to the festival but with no return journey. There's been some rain on site before we arrive but the beer tent, toilets and stage are still easily accessible. The Irrigated Soul Stage is a barn with a good sound system installed and we arrive just in time to catch some of Slydigs' set who impress us with their brand of blues-influenced rock.
But we're here for the main event. Having just announced their winter UK tour and single plans, The Slow Readers Club warmed up for their prestigious slots at the Manchester Food and Drink and Ramsbottom festivals later this month with their most ambitious set to date, which was littered with songs from the early days and brought bang up to date with a host of recent killer singles.
This expanded set allows the band to reintroduce some early classics and lesser played tracks from both albums, the self titled 2011 debut and the stunning Cavalcade album from earlier this year. On a cold autumn night, the band open with the pulsating Fool For Your Philosophy, which has been a staple of the live set for several years now and is as crisp and sharp as ever. Debut single Sirens remains one of the highlights of their show.
This opening onslaught sees the band in confident mood before the punchy yet more reflective Here In The Hollow and the majestic Start Again. It is always difficult to single out a favourite Slow Readers Club song but Days Like This Will Break Your Heart must come close. A powerful, slow, tune that echoes some of The Smiths' finer moments, it impresses the crowd.
As it's late in the day, some of the festival crowd have naturally been caning it all day and one fan pesters the band throughout, asking to dance on stage with them. Whilst she is no Bez, she adds a new dimension to the show and her hilarious moves entertain both the band and the audience when she finally manages to evade security and get on stage.
For the Slow Readers connoisseur, this is an almost perfect show with old favourites Lost Boys, One More Minute, Block Out The Sun and Learn To Love The System being added to the set. Lost Boys in particular, which sees guitarist Kurtis sharing lead vocal duties with brother Aaron is particularly impressive. The newer songs are in contrast to this older material. There is more of a pop slant to tunes such as I Saw A Ghost and new single, the fantastic, infectious electro joy of Plant The Seed.
Plant The Seed is the fifth single from the Cavalcade LP but is completely different from its predecessors. Dominated by a simple yet infectious synth, it is a classic single. We are treated to Plant The Seed twice, as the band give us a second chance to hear it in this evening's impromptu encore.
That's not before the drama of a power cut as they play Forever In Your Debt. When electricity is restored it seems to fire the band up and they shift up a gear as they rattle throw it again. A thumping bass from Jim Ryan dominates. The set ends with Know The Day Will Come. A perfect end - strong, commanding vocals from Starkie matched with powerhouse drumming from David Whitworth.
The band are brimming with confidence and their heavy gigging schedule this year is paying off. They command the stage and this evening, yet again, they have won over new fans. There are so many sides to The Slow Readers Club, you can't help but be enthralled by them. Their infectious brand of pop/rock/electro deserves your attention. They just keep improving as well. We were mightily impressed this evening. The longer set suits them and their growing army of fans will be kicking themselves when they see this evening's set list.
The Slow Readers Club played Fool For Your Philosophy, Sirens, Here In The Hollow, Start Again, Days Like This Will Break Your Heart, Don't Mind, Lost Boys, I Saw A Ghost, Forever In Your Debt, One More Minute, Plant The Seed, Feet On Fire, Block Out The Sun, Learn To Love The System, Know The Day Will Come and Plant The Seed (again).
The Slow Readers Club have the following live dates scheduled :
Sept 17 - Manchester Food And Drink Festival (Albert Square - free show)
Sept 19 - Ramsbottom Festival
Nov 5 - London The Black Heart
Nov 6 - Birmingham The Sunflower Lounge
Nov 14 - Sheffield Corporation
Nov 20 - Leeds The Packhorse
Nov 27 - Liverpool The Magnet
Nov 28 - Manchester Gorilla
Dec 5 - Preston The Mad Ferret
The Slow Readers Club can be found at their website. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.