Monday 12 September 2022

The Slow Readers Club / Klangstof - Liverpool Academy - 11th September 2022

The Slow Readers Club headlined Liverpool O2 Academy on Sunday night in front of a devoted boisterous audience that sung along to every word of a set that featured a lot of deeper cuts from across their career as well as many of their best known songs. Support came from a slimmed-down Klangstof ahead of the release of their Godspeed To The Freaks album out on Friday.

"We left our guitarist at home because it was too expensive" is Klangstof's pretty damning evidence of the damage that's being done to Anglo-European touring at present even for a band that's getting national radio play. Stripped down to a trio, Klangstof still manage to connect with the audience though, recent single Truth in particular, with songs that build and draw the listener in. Their positive spirit and good humour goes down well with a crowd that have always been responsive to support acts, knowing that many of them discovered the headliners by that same route. They have the songs to match too, anthemic builds, even if they're a man down, false stops that get a cheer before coming back in and finishing on a louder one. The roar at the end of their half-hour set suggests mission accomplished.

The timing of the pandemic couldn't have been worse for The Slow Readers Club. Having gone full time after selling out the Apollo in Manchester in December 2018 after the Top 20 success of their third album Build A Tower. Its follow-up The Joy Of The Return had just been unleashed onto the world in March 2020, securing their first top 10 album, when life came crashing to a halt, destroying their tour plans. They wrote and recorded another album 91 Days In Isolation once restrictions eased slightly, but the momentum was halted despite two successful tours in 2021 and as they approach the release of their sixth album next year, these shows are a reminder to people that they're still there and able to create the celebratory gig experience for which they became renowned.

Towards the end of the set Aaron tells us there will be a new record next year and tonight's set feels like a clearing of the decks for that new record. Without having been able to tour The Joy Of The Return or 91 Days In Isolation at the time of release, the setlist weighs heavily towards songs from those two albums intermingled with their impressive string of singles from their breakthrough album Cavalcade and Build A Tower with space for Cavalcade's Here In The Hollow, the album's least-played live track and personal favourite of Saul from James who championed them and their most recent single Tell No Lies.

The likes of Zero Hour, Something Missing, Everything I Own, The Greatest Escape, Like I Wanted To and Wanted Much More might not be live favourites yet, but they will be by the end of the tour. That is testament to The Slow Readers Club's ability to pretty much hit the mark with every song they release and the songs sit perfectly alongside their big-hitters Start Again, Forever In Your Debt, Plant The Seed, You Opened Up My Heart, On The TV, I Saw A Ghost and Lunatic to the extent that a newcomer to the room would struggle to distinguish which were which. They strip down Block Out The Sun, the only track from their self-titled debut, to acoustic guitars and phones are held aloft with torches on.

The atmosphere in the room can't be dampened by the pouring rain outside nor Northern Rail and Transpennine Express's attempts to strand half the crowd either at home or at Lime Street. As the band make their way to the stage, and at the end of each song, the READERS chant that follows them everywhere they go is louder than the PA and the middle section of the crowd seem to be stood on springs given that they never stop bouncing. Round the fringes, everyone is singing along to every word, eyes focused on the stage, arms aloft and completely lost in the moment of these songs and taking over as Aaron offers them the microphone for You Opened Up My Heart and more forcefully to the addictive riff to On The TV. The Slow Readers Club have built their reputation on connecting with their audience, both on and off stage, and it's that which will see them in good stead as they seek to move onwards and upwards again.

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

They played Yet Again, Start Again, Something Missing, The Greatest Escape, Forever In Your Debt, Plant The Seed, Here In The Hollow, Everything I Own, Zero Hour, No Surprise, Tell No Lies, You Opened Up My Heart, On The TV, I Saw A Ghost, Like I Wanted To, Block Out The Sun, Wanted Much More and Lunatic.

They play Newcastle University (September 16), Hull Welly (17), Chester Live Rooms (18), Stoke Sugarmill (22), Norwich Waterfront (23), Oxford O2 Academy (24) and Brighton Chalk (25).

Klangstof's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.


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