In what can only be described as an absolute turn up for the books, I’ve actually made it to this gig in time for both support acts. This is indeed a rare thing. And could have something to do with the fact that the first band isn’t on til 9pm.
So whilst it wasn’t really my intention to catch the first band, Wise Children, I’m pretty glad I did. In an unusual set up for four indie pretty boys – two electro acoustic guitars, bass, drums and the odd bit of mandolin, Wise Children perform some pretty enjoyable folky, countryside tunes. ‘Artichoke’ in particularly is a rather endearing, sweet little love song that has female members of the audience swooning left, right and centre.
Next up are the much talked about First Aid Kit. Hailing from Sweden, First Aid Kit are doing a damn good job of being American. And not just American, but all out Americana. And just as I comment that their vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar picking is rather reminiscent of Fleet Foxes, they launch into a rather successful (thank goodness) cover of ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’.
Whilst First Aid Kit’s harmonies are striking and resonate wonderfully, at times they’re just a little bit forced – you’ve got microphones girls and you’re playing in a L-shaped shoe box. No need to shout.
Nonetheless though, at such a tender age, the songwriting and performance skills of First Aid Kit are certainly beyond their years, and the chatter about them will only increase from here on in.
And so at 10pm (and a rather large amount of change), Slow Club emerge from the bac of the room, and proceed to serenade us acoustically as they make their way to the stage. Personally, I was slightly apprehensive that, despite a rather enjoyable album, live, Slow Club could descend into an unfortunate Ting Tings affair.
There’s definitely that danger as they launch into ‘Giving Up On Love’ – Rebecca’s tripping over herself (literally) to keep in time on the drums. And indeed, shambolic would certain be a good word to describe the rest of their set. However, it most definitely needs to be pre-fixed by the word ‘gloriously’. At times it’s a sloppy, chaotic, tumbling, stumbling mess of a sound, but it’s bloody wonderful and the entire room is having a grand old tie.
And just to prove there is more to Slow Club than meets the eye, there’s also the odd tender, poignant moment where Rebecca’s voice really shines and Charles displays the odd bit of mad guitar skills. ‘There Is No Good Way To Say I’m Leaving You’ brings a hushed silence over the room, and a brief pause for thought.
But they hastily pull themselves out of this tender moment and it’s back to business with the foot-stomping ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful’, with Charles and Rebecca apparently racing each other as to who will get to the end first, or who will fall over trying.
Ending with ‘Trophy Room’, the satisfied punters leave with a spring in their step, happy in the knowledge that a) Slow Club can actually pull it off live, just about and b) all that dancing has probably burnt off at least half a pint’s worth of calories.