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Slow Readers Club
Bodega, Nottingham, 30/3/2017
Join me as once again we climb the dark, narrow, wonderful staircase that leads to the Nottingham venue they call the Bodega Social Club. This time there's a sold-out crowd: when we entered just ten minutes before the support act, the place was already jam-packed.
This small venue is one of the best in the Midlands for atmosphere and sound quality. The sound techs do a sterling job along with the lighting and it's always a joy to be here. The small stage is direct on to the floor in front with no pit, which creates a great intimate (yet when needed, open and free) environment.
Tonight's gig is sold out, arguably because the band in question - The Slow Readers Club - were in town just a month or two earlier supporting indie veterans James at the Royal Centre. Having worked their way through a blistering set they left our fair city with a horde of new fans.
The Club are on the second stage of their spring tour which culminates in Leeds, another venue already sold out. They are currently doing the rounds in support of their second album 'Cavalcade', which is a step up from the first in glossiness but still has the Readers stamp.
The Slow Readers Club are a Manchester-based four-piece (Aaron Starkie - vocals/keyboard, Kurtis Starkie - vocals /guitar, James Ryan - bass, David Whitworth - drums) who specialise in indie-electro-doom-pop. Think early New Order and mid-period Depeche Mode with a synth/guitar sound that is slightly industrial in places. They're a band with something to say.
Aaron Starkie's vocals are not too dissimilar to Colin Moloy's from the Decemberists, although the music is yards apart. He does have that storytelling demeanour with a glint of foreboding. They kick off with 'Fool for Your Philosophy' from the second album. The whole set is a concoction of tasters from both the albums but they stuck a few new ones in to test the water and those were very well received.
The band ended their main set with 'Feet of Fire' and 'Forever in Your Debt', but the crowd were baying for more so as they prepared to play on Starkie quipped: "This is about the time we go off and come back on again for a few more. But there isn't much room here to do that so we'll just carry on." They then finished the strong and professional set with 'Cavalcade', 'I Saw a Ghost' and 'Know the Day Will Come'.
The Club vacated the small Bodega stage to shouts and rapturous applause. Before they went they mentioned that they can be seen again here not too far away in Nottingham's Dot to Dot festival at the end of May. They are not to be missed.
Halfway through the gig Starkie asked the crowd whether any of them had seen the band at the James gig and then went on to say that they owed James a lot for the chance to gig with them. I get the feeling that the Slow Readers Club may believe that their current rise in popularity is due to that tour and the helping hand. I tend to think that, yes, it was a helping hand but the Club would eventually have risen - and will rise - above the rest in their own right: they are that good. There is a lot of work ahead and there are bound to be some pitfalls along the way but I believe the Slow Readers Cub are destined for greater things not too far in the future. Catch them while you can. Utterly Marvellous!
Photographs by Dave Goodwin
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