LIVE: The Slow Readers Club @ O2 Apollo Manchester
WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE
“Readers! Readers! Readers! Readers!” rings around the packed out O2 Apollo Manchester tonight and it’s the first time I’ve seen a crowd from the front right to the back seriously up for this gig! The Slow Readers Club have been grafting for the last 7 years or so building a solid fanbase, knocking put some epic tunes and at the same time all holding down a day job, paying their mortgages and raising their families! There’s always time to follow a dream and after having the privilege of interviewing Aaron and Kurt (the brothers in the band, vocals, and guitar/vocals respectively), earlier in the year, they certainly deserve what happens next. What we do know is they’ve handed in their notice, cause they’ve accepted a job as a full-time rock band and their last day at the office is this Friday 21st December… if they’ve achieved what they’ve achieved so far ‘part-time’ I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
A couple of hours before the gig I bumped into a mate – “what you up to this weekend Russ?… I’m off to see The Slow Readers Club tonight at the Apollo” his face said it all, he’s into music and he knew of the gig even though he wasn’t going and hasn’t even heard a track by the band, “aaah I’m well jel, mate! They’re supposed to ace mate not seen em yet but have a goodun!”. They have new fans to convert/convince/entertain and to the existing fans on Aaron’s own admission on behalf of the band, “We finished work on 21st Dec… we’re taking it around Europe and the rest of the UK… we’ve been doing it around our day jobs up til now… we couldn’t have done it without you lot buying records and T-shirts! Thanks” the appreciation is fully heartfelt and the crowd are right behind them, a way of showing appreciation the band launch straight into a flawless version of ‘Forever in your debt’ with the strong lyrics of togetherness which tonight joins the crowd and the band in a firm collective, “say that you love me , all that we go through for now and forever I hold you”. These songs are full of emotion and create a strong connection to the listener, and having met Aaron and Kurt, they definitely extend their hugs to their fans, high fives and holds are happening throughout the gig where Aaron jumps from the stage to the front row of dedicated fans.
The two support acts, Liines and PINS show their appreciation of the Slow Readers Club and are both at the start of their journey, equally they are supported by the Scruff of the Neck, DHP and as The Slow Readers Club have benefitted from having them in their corner I’m sure they will too. The list of acts coming from these A&R stalwarts and music junkies is endless all of which have featured on the pages over the recent years.
How do you enter a gig which is clearly an appreciation to a hometown crowd that has sorted them out to follow their dreams? With ‘Donna Summer I Feel Love’ that’s how. It’s amazing the power music can have the crowd respond and I’m transported to 1 am at Bluedot Saturday earlier this year where UNKLE played the very same track. Goosebumps.
The tracks include, ‘Lunatic’, with the crowd building, towers around the Apollo with their arms, Supernatural, a personal favourite of mine, ‘Sirens’ with united vocals between Aaron and his couple of thousand backing singers. The chants of “Readers!…” and singing along to Sirens brings an amazing unity to the crowd the kind you would hold at any large crowd event. A commonality and everyone is there to enjoy. A perfect justification for the band all having jacked in their day jobs to further what they have already achieved and they have a strong following already. It never used to be this way round but they’ve proved they can deliver and have committed to it. It must be bizarre knowing you’ve got all these songs rolling around in your head and working every day to pay your way in life, can that be the reason for lyrics such as “wish I could start again”, we don’t have a second chance, grab life and “live it like you love it” (tip of the cap to the Charlatans another sold-out Apollo gig in ’95 I have fond memories of). “Is it anyone’s first time here? Welcome along” Aaron brings in the new fans and existing, a sense that it’s the start of a journey for those two parties, the band, and the newcomers, ”hope you enjoy it!”
“We’ve got two more for you and this one’s ‘I Saw A Ghost’” this is after Kurt has taken to the mic on ‘Lost Boys’, ironically “this boy has no future leading him in there”, they’ve crafted their own future and it’s on to the new chapter. I haven’t seen a crowd at the Apollo this into the music for a long time! It’s like a sending off for their favourite band to take on Europe! The final song makes the gig and the whole audience are singing along (I’ve still got it ringing through my head now, what a mantra). “Have a good Christmas – this one’s called On the TV”, The Slow Readers Club end the night with an arm in arm bow front stage. Have a good Christmas yourselves lads, you’ve deserved it.