wears the trousers magazine


slow club: live at the institute of contemporary arts, london 22/06/09
June 25, 2009, 9:30 am
Filed under: live, review | Tags: , , , ,

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Slow Club
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London •••••
June 22, 2009 

Just weeks before the release of their hotly anticipated debut album, Yeah So, indie-folk duo Slow Club launched their new single ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful’ with an almighty bang earlier this week at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. After getting up on stage for a brief warm up with support act Viking Moses, their own set began with an Arcade Fire-style in-crowd rendition of new B-side ‘Wild Blue Milk’. The crowd was hushed and attentive as Charles and Rebecca proved they’re more than just a one-trick perky pop pony with perhaps their most mature sounding tune to date. Taking to the stage, Rebecca quipped, “Seamless, eh?”, but as their devoted fanbase surely knows by now, seamless is not what Slow Club have ever been about. It’s the frenetic punk ethos that they bring to the new folk scene that continues to make them such a popular live act.

On stage and plugged in, the band ripped into one of their most blistering sets to date, with Charles shouting the words to long-time live favourites ‘Because We’re Dead’ and ‘Summer Shakedown’ as Rebecca belted away at her drums as if her life depended on it; no chair in sight tonight, Slow Club meant business. Tearing though soon-to-be anthems ‘Giving Up On Love’ and the new single they’re in London to promote, that lingering “twee” label seems more misplaced than ever. The only pause for breath came in the middle of ‘When I Go’, when, following a pitch-perfect bit of harmonised whistling, the pair stopped playing and looked at each other in astonishment. “That never happens. One of us always messes it up!”

With the crowd already singing along to the unreleased album tracks, Rebecca brought up the issue of the LP’s slightly early appearance on the web. “So, who’s downloaded it already then?” she asks, followed by a hushed, slightly ashamed silence. “We don’t mind, really,” she smiled. “Just buy it again!” Going on to play more new tunes in the sonic shapes of ‘There Is No Good Way To Say I’m Leaving You’, ‘Trophy Room’ and a touching solo ‘Boys On Their Birthdays’ from Rebecca, they give the ICA crowd every reason to make that purchase. Leaving the stage to rapturous applause and cries for more, it was back into the throng for an acoustic version of ‘Christmas TV’, perhaps the only festive number that sounds great all year round. After a gently prompted bit of audience participation and a thank you, they were off to take Slow Club to Glasto. Worthy Farm had better watch out.

Richard Steele
photos by Anika Mottershaw

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