Review: Slow Club at Brighton Dome, with support from Mae Martin

“They all told me it wouldn’t work,” said Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor, on fighting for Mae Martin to open their gig at Brighton Dome.

… And boy, were they wrong.

A Canadian comedienne, Mae Martin is as hilarious as she is painfully open. Although she may not be the most obvious choice for a support act, there’s no doubt that she delivers laughs from the second she bounds on stage with the line, “Hi guys! I’m Justin Bieber!”

What follows is an immaculate deliverance of terrifyingly relatable teenage confessions, scarily recognisable anecdotes about both Brighton and England (with Martin amusingly pointing out the particular British-ness of the line “a packet of Mini Cheddars”), and a deeply documented irrational hatred for BBC’s Professor Brian Cox.

Martin discusses the exploration of her sexuality candidly, expressing her disappointment that – despite her parents’ description – an orgasm was not, as it turned out, “an explosion of rainbows that fills the sky”.

The comedienne engages her audience flawlessly, making for an incredibly enjoyable surprise start to a gig. The Verse hopes more music and comedy acts will collaborate for shows in the future!

Hailing from Sheffield, Slow Club are an English indie duo comprising of old school friends Rebecca Taylor (vocals, guitar, drums) and Charles Watson (vocals, guitar, keys). The two have come a long way since first album Yeah So in 2009 – releasing second album Paradise in 2011 and their third, Complete Surrender, last year – and their show in Brighton marks the fourth day of their month-long tour in the UK.

The Verse went to see just what the fuss was around this relatively unheard of band; why Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in their music video for Beginners, is such a big fan; and whether these guys were going to turn out to be ‘just another indie band’.

The show kicks off with Complete Surrender opening track, Tears of Joy, where vocals from both Taylor and Watson blend flawlessly to deliver a gorgeous soulful ballad which wouldn’t have been out of place had it been performed alongside the likes of the motown legends of the 1970s.

Our interview with Slow Club earlier that night had shed some light on their influences, which were unmistakable throughout the show. Charles’ lead vocals boast an impressively range during Everything Is New and Paraguay and Panama, which have a clear influence from Bright Eyes and The Shins, while Rebecca powers through the bouncy Suffering You, Suffering Me and the evocative The Queen’s Nose with Stevie Nicks-esque aplomb. The lyrics are refreshing, enigmatic and feel so incredibly familiar, particularly during the songs that really showcase what could be described as the ‘most powerful voice in indie’ – the pared-down Dependable People and Things That I’m Sure Of and Not Mine To Love, where Rebecca takes the limelight.

Then again, something pretty magical seems to happen when these two great voices come together during title track Complete Surrender and fan-favourite Beginners; the vocals by the duo complement each other so immaculately, you get the feeling these guys have had nothing but fun in their career so far. During the encore, Rebecca bursts into laughter mid-way through performing Two Cousins, and it becomes clear that in front of us we have two good friends that really just fucking love what they’re doing.

The Studio Room at Brighton Dome seems hardly worthy of Slow Club’s unpredictable variety, but nevertheless provides a perfectly intimate gig – it’s difficult to imagine the band treating the crowd to a last-second acoustic version of The Pieces anywhere else than the centre of the Studio’s standing area.

So, in short to the question of whether these guys are just another indie band, the answer is a resounding no. Slow Club have ditched their anti-folk roots, and instead left us structured, sophisticated melodies with killer vocals that will make any audience stand up and take notice.

By Nammie Matthews

You can read Nammie’s interview with Slow Club here.

The Verse Staff

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