Tonight reset the music clock in Manchester back to zero.the future history of music from this esteemed city burst forth like that amazing alien smashing its way out of John Hurt’s stomach! That scene is vivid in the mind from the first sighting...tonight The Slow Readers Club firmly stomped their huge musical footprint on the grey, wet hallowed streets that weave the fabric of lyrics and tunes from the sixties and beyond.
The performance of this band tonight will go down in folklore, remember these words.
That may sound fantastical and bold but as a mancunian having been brought up through mod culture, ska, new romantic, new wave, electronica, house, electropop, Britpop etc…and all the massive homegrown artists that have graced the stages of the famous venues I can honestly say I’d take these 4 fellas over The Roses, the Gallagher lads and even your Joy division/New Order.
This is why as an unsigned act they sold out the 2000+ capacity Albert Hall more than 2 months prior to the gig and have sold out all 7 legs of their current UK.
They have a fan base of many, many thousands and the fans never ever shut up telling anyone who will listen just how good their sound is. There are too many stories to recount of how this has caused their popularity to grow organically, the word has spread whilst still feeling part of a cool and select club of like minded souls that know something special and treasure the performances in tight venues.
The word is now out…. It’s too big and special to be contained. The Albert Hall is the first of many much larger platforms for those that can appreciate musicians operating at the peak of their creative powers.
The hall is packed to the gills, there are smiles and looks of pride from the many, many familiar faces that ‘their’ band is about to step out and take the next giant leap in this story. You have to go a long way to see so much band merch being wor... almost football shirt style. There are the echoing chants of “READER...”READERS” from the self christened fans. Along with an occasional “RATS” from Mr Brown, we all await the “we love you Jim” from Ed, but that’s for mid performance!
The lads wait side of stage for the final chords of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to love” to fade…lights down and one by one they take the cheers like an “ole” for a bull fighter.
You can feel the love and excitement oozing round the stalls and circling the balcony….I’m sure these wooden panels and beams haven’t absorbed anything as intense as this before.
We are off into “Fool for your Philosophy”, Dave keeping a tight beat, Jim stomping a strong bass line and affording himself a cheeky smile, Kurtis looking the cool ice-man on his Les-Paul plucking and strumming those riffs we all hum along to. Centre stage in his long ‘Lunatic’ coat and sporting a strong beard is Aaron, if you have seen a lead that puts so much meaning and emotion into the delivery of a song then I need to know who! Expressive with face and arm/hand to emphasise the words so well constructed.
This is a masterclass of electro-pop/synth of angst/anger/despair and joy… these fellas are so special live you could stand their song delivery against the playing of any vinyl/CD/downloaded version of their tunes.
The crowd echo and accompany Aaron through each song delivered with the backdrop of an amazing sound and light show.that engineer (Ash) really knows how to compliment the rhythm and tone of a song!
At half way there is a surprise in the set, a tune that hasn’t been played live for some time but one which a fan from the states (Julie), over just to attend and experience 2 gigs on the tour has been rallying for over the last few weeks to have included! “Lost Boys” has the place absolutely bouncing….it’s like a scene from fraggle rock during the song sequence but with everyone on acid! Post song there is a dedication from the band and thanks to Julie. That’s why people take to them, they are connected with the fans and they care and appreciate the effort people make to come and watch and buy their material.
We then wing through the latest single ‘Lunatic’ which sees Aaron treat us to some of his new body twisting moves. The crowd are up and he’s keeping them there!
‘You opened up my heart’ introduces a new tone/style and is obviously a major contributor on the band’s eagerly awaited 3rd studio album set for release in early 2018. I will be amazed if this isn’t a single and the likes of BBC Radio6 and all the cool cats in the industry don’t lap this up like a gold saucer or the richest cream….
There are bows and off stage.
The crowd ain’t letting them leave it there, immediately we hear those huge chants again… “READERS” echoes around… this is no token shout for more, these lots mean it, demand it!
The lads stroll back on, trying to eek out every last second of the performance because they know too that this is so very special.
We have ‘Cavalcade’, ‘Forever In Your Debt’ and ‘I Saw a Ghost’…..delivered in a proper party atmosphere with huge white self illuminating balloons being bounced and batted aloft across the celebratory fans.
By the time the four of them stood there, in a line, arms across shoulders, they knew and their faces showed just how much they had loved it.
It was like one of those parties where you don’t even want to leave to go for a pee…the ones where you don’t want to ever end.
It was special, the venue was special, the crowd was special and the band were super special.
The biggest question tomorrow will be “has that gone to your number one in your gig top 10 too?”
It was an honour to be there and I want to do it again very soon!!!!!