Slooooooow Readeeeeeeeers Cluuuuub
live at Sin City, Swansea

Ten years after they first formed, the Slow Readers Club are celebrating in style. A massive 47 date UK/EU tour marks their anniversary and is not just a milestone for the band due to its scale. The major event marks their first tour as full time musicians following the massive critical and commercial success of their latest album ‘Build A Tower’ which launched into the top 20 upon its release last may. They’re a group primed for concert halls, with an anthemic sound that has filled the atmosphere in such venues as the 02 Apollo Manchester and Scala in London. With such a huge sound, I was interested to see how it would translate to a much more intimate venue like Sin City.

To my surprise the Readers opted to tear down that separation that you often get between band and audience - the distinct lack of a barrier in reality only removed less than a metre of separation, however it was symbolic of so much more. This was an opportunity for the fans to really connect with the band. People streamed into the venue bearing T-Shirts from previous gigs, conversing with other fans about their favourite songs and where they last experienced The Slow Readers Club - the most dedicated of which sat at the foot of the stage to secure their place in the spectacle.

After a loveable and funky set from support act Alice Jemima, the Readers were in high demand. Chants broke out intermittently from the gentle din of conversation, calling for the main show, preaching an unanimous praise before the group even stepped onto the stage. Finally after half an hour of anticipation, the venue filled with smoke as silhouettes took their places on the stage - and thus began the experience. Their sound caught me off guard, I’d only previously heard them from headphones and i was wrong for thinking that that gave me an accurate reading of their sound and feel. The texture of the songs was so rich and brilliant that a tiny speaker you put in your ear could never do it justice . Standing next to Sin City’s massive sound system I was shown the music in a brand new dimension. The bass and drones of melancholy felt as if they were rushing out of the speakers and gripping you, every time the sound swelled you could feel it in your chest. It was as if the impact of every note, drumbeat and lyric increased tenfold.

Looking around, the crowd were going mad for it, everyone so open and comfortable to let go and dance, the moves ranging from gentle bobs to full body grooving, the fever bug of dancing seemed to have a hold on people of all shapes and sizes. Every fan a dedicated one, the love of the bands discography so tangible, especially noticeable during an old track called ‘start again’ off of their second album. Frontman, Aaron Starkie’s lyrics were echoed back to him along with the movements of his performance; If Starkie’s hand rose in the chorus, so would the fans’.

The audience were treated to a glimpse of a new direction for the group with new song ‘the wait’. Perhaps one of my favourites of the night, it began with a cool, sexy bass that’s hard not to imagine accompanying a slick car chase drenched in neon. A plucky high tempo guitar enters the mix, injecting the song with a tension ready to explode in any second. Explode it does, the chorus rips through the moody cool of the verse into a glorious triumphant chorus full of grandeur taking the track to 11, before slipping right back into the cool groove until the next trip to triumph. It’s everything the Readers are with a hint of what will be.

Two songs later and the chaps bring the show to a close with fan favourite ‘On The TV’, a dancey poppy track about viewing the chaos of the world through the viewfinder of a television. Written at the height of Trump’s highly publicised buffoonery, Starkie’s concern is expressed through lyrics describing the world being on fire juxtaposed against a fiendishly catchy riff that makes you want to dance to a vision of chaos. As the final chord rang out and the lights began to rise the faces of mind blown fans were visible. People who came donned in merch left bearing armfuls of even more stuff; the stand a battleground to obtain autographs and photos.

My verdict leaving the venue that night is that if you think you might like them, you positively must see them live. Their sound is so rich and grand that you absolutely must hear it in person as no recording could ever capture that same sense of enormous scale. Whilst the big concert shows dazzle and wow with dramatic light shows, the more enclosed intimate setting allows you to really listen and enjoy the music without distraction. Keep your ears on your radio sets and your eyes on the charts, The Slow Readers Club are taking over.

Words and pix : Dom Waters

Thaks to Thom at Sonic PR for sorting things out