Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Slow Readers Club / Jordan Allen - Glasgow The Garage - 21st December 2019


The Slow Readers Club completed their UK tour and first full year as a full-time band with a packed out Saturday night show at The Garage in Glasgow in front of a raucous crowd ready for a celebration. Support came from Bolton's Jordan Allen.

There's an infectious energy to Jordan Allen that draws people in. He's keen to connect with the audience, adopting the infamous "here we, here we, here we fucking go" chant and then letting the crowd take in on at a couple of times in the set. Whether it be on old favourites like set opener Imperial Leather Drama and 110 Ways To Make Things Better or new tracks Breathe and The Rapture, it's a performance of high energy from a band that feel like they naturally belong together on stage rather than one that formed earlier this year out of the ashes of Jordan's previous band.


Without a guitar round his neck, Jordan is able to live out his front man persona more naturally as it shows as the front rows fall for his passion and belief in what he's trying to achieve. They finish with Rosie, Jordan down on the barrier, encouraging us to sing along, telling us "it's easy" to spell out the song's title in the breakdown - and you sense they've won over a new set of admirers opening up on this short tour.

This is the fifth night on the bounce for The Slow Readers Club and you could forgive them for being slightly weary after the adrenaline rush of two hometown shows at the Ritz the previous two nights, but if anything their performance here is more energetic than those two nights, like a final push over the top to victory, or in this case a well deserved Christmas break before the new album appears in early 2020 - which Aaron teases at the end of the second new song taken from it called Problem Child.

As the first notes of On The TV strike out, the venue erupts in a sea of bouncing bodies singing the song's uplifting hook line that acts like a trigger attached to several hundred people. It sets the scene for what's to come, a room coming together in celebration of a band that's formed so many friendships and bonds around these songs that talk to people and connect with them and let you see that others feel the same way. It's a very powerful impact and something that music has a unique way of achieving.

The set, like on previous nights, moves around the band's now impressive catalogue of songs, from the debut album through to two tracks from the unreleased fourth album - The Wait and the aforementioned Problem Child. What's telling with The Slow Readers Club is that the crowd know them all - there's no coming in at album three and that being what they want to hear, people delve deeper, go back to the debut album that sneaked out at the tail end of 2011 and its follow up Cavalcade and immerse themselves in those as willingly as the newer material.

That gives tracks like Sirens, Feet On Fire and Block Out The Sun a new lease of life and they feel like they're big hit singles from the distant past, but still fresh, vibrant and exciting. During Feet On Fire one guy ends up topless on his mate's shoulders much to the amusement or bemusement of the band and those around him. But it's a sign of the deep-rooted love that The Slow Readers Club have engendered in their rapidly growing fanbase, whether it be the travelling army that follow their every footstep or the more casual admirer.


There's a real party atmosphere tonight in the room, people are hugging each other between songs, jumping around arm in arm, kissing bald foreheads and immersing themselves in the feel-good factor that comes from watching this band. Supernatural and Plant The Seed are sung back so loud that Aaron lets us take over and stands there with a smile on his face, part joy, part wonder at just what has happened for this band over the past few years. But as Forever In Your Debt and Lunatic conclude the night, it's crystal clear as to why this story has played itself out the way it has - it comes down simply to the quality of the songs, that never drops across the twenty tonight even when they slow things down on Don't Mind and a beautiful Days Like This Will Break Your Heart, and the fact that there's a genuine connection between band and audience. There's no rock star airs and graces, they are as much part of the crowd as the crowd are the band.

The Slow Readers Club played On The TV, Fool For Your Philosophy, The Wait, Sirens, Lives Never Known, Supernatural, Never Said I Was The Only One, Don't Mind, Start Again, I Saw A Ghost, Grace Of God, You Opened Up My Heart, Plant The Seed, Days Like This Will Break Your Heart, Problem Child, Block Out The Sun, Distant Memory, Feet On Fire, Forever In Your Debt and Lunatic.

The Slow Readers Club's official website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Jordan Allen is on Facebook and Twitter and has announced his biggest ever show at Manchester Ritz on April 24.
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