Monday 6 February 2023

The Slow Readers Club - Bury The Met - 5th February 2023

The Slow Readers Club played a one-off intimate stripped-down show on Sunday night in the Box Theatre of The Met in Bury as part of the venue's Independent Venue Week celebrations. A career-spanning set included a surprise cover of The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

The Slow Readers Club have a long relationship with The Met at Bury. They recorded their second and third albums Cavalcade and Build A Tower in the Edwin Street Studios that form part of The Met complex and a live album of Cavalcade at a previous Independent Venue Week show in the venue's Derby Hall room upstairs. This one-off show to a dedicated fan audience of around eighty people sold out in seconds when a surprise announcement of it was made - and it's clear that there is a massive amount of love in the room from The Slow Readers Club's audience, keen to hear these songs in a stripped back format.

Hearing songs in a format different to their original recorded one is a test of a song's durability, connection and reach and across thirteen of their own songs The Slow Readers Club prove that they are a band that specialises in making those connections that make music important. Whether this is in the more personal moments such as Forever In Your Debt, I Saw A Ghost and Lunatic, dark lyrically but uplifting and an arm round the shoulder musically even in stripped back format, or the more universal statements about the world - Knowledge Freedom Power and On The TV in particular, the songs lose nothing in translation from their full-on versions to this format.

In fact it allows more of the subtleties in the songs to shine through - Jim's spine-tingling bass lines, Kurtis's backing vocals coming to the fore, David's drums much rawer without being overlaid by backing tracks and the richness and depth in Aaron's voice very much to the fore and higher in the mix with less going on around it. The songs connect still but in a more personal and intimate way. The bombastic On The TV is pared right down, despite the audience's best efforts, and is more affecting and touching for it. Jim's plucking the bass strings on Forever In Your Debt feels like they're heartstrings that he's pulling at. Don't Mind, an early single and fan favourite, has Aaron on keys and the mournful pathos of the song rushes to the fore and I Saw A Ghost feels even more chilling and haunting.

There's two new songs too from their forthcoming album Knowledge Freedom Power - the title track and Lay Your Troubles On Me. Whilst the album hasn't been released yet, these are sung back with the same gusto by the fans who've clearly learnt them since they were released as teasers for the record. 

They cover The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out as the penultimate song of the set. It's a fairly straight cover as you'd expect, as it'd be sacrilege to try and rip it up, but there's a passion and respect in Aaron's vocals that more than do it justice as one of the greatest songs to ever come from our city. They finish with Lunatic, the most upbeat song of the night performance-wise, the band letting loose as the audience bounce around in front of them and almost drown Aaron out. 

With their Knowledge Freedom Power tour about to kick off and hopefully regain the momentum for the band that was lost as the campaign for their 2020 album The Joy Of The Return was cut off the week it hit the top ten album chart by the pandemic, this was a fascinating alternative view of some of the songs from their back catalogue.

The Slow Readers Club played All The Idols, Knowledge Freedom Power, Jericho, All I Hear, Lay Your Troubles On Me, Don't Mind, I Saw A Ghost, Supernatural, Block Out The Sun, Forever In Your Debt, Wanted Much More, On The TV, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Lunatic.

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

Knowledge Freedom Power is available to preorder from their official store including a newly-announced Blackout edition on vinyl, CD and cassette.

The tour in support of the album calls at Barrow In Furness Library (March 2), Leeds University Stylus (4), Glasgow SWG3 (6), Aberdeen Lemon Tree (7), Nottingham Rescue Rooms (9), Birmingham O2 Academy 2 (10), Bristol Thekla (11), Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (13), London Lafayette (14), Manchester Albert Hall (17), Berlin Lido (23), Hamburg Übel & Gefährlich (24), Antwerp Trix Club (25), Paris Supersonic (30), Rotterdam Rotown (31), Amsterdam Paradiso Tolhuistuin (April 1), Belfast Limelight 2 (14), Dublin Academy (15) and Porto M.Ou.Co (29).


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