March 16th 2019
While selling out the Leadmill in Sheffield is not the same as filling the Roundhouse or playing an arena show, it still means something. As one of Yorkshire’s most iconic live venues, a sold out Leadmill show is something that every up and coming band should have on their checklist. The Slow Readers Club can draw an emphatic line through that one…
It feels strange to describe Aaron Starkie and his band as ‘up and coming’, particularly as they have just released their third album, but as Starkie himself alludes to, the band have only recently been able to quit their day jobs to focus on music full time and this Leadmill gig is hailed as the bands biggest show outside of their native Manchester. There will be bigger shows to come.
The Slow Readers Club are Aaron Starkie (vocals), Kurtis Starkie (guitar), Jim Ryan (bass) and David Whitworth (drums). They take to the stage on a wet and windy Saturday night in Sheffield to chants of ‘READERS!’ from an already rowdy crowd. Lunatic kicks things off and Starkie’s voice soars throughout the epochal venue as debut album highlight Sirens threatens to tear the roof off. As the suitably atmospheric Through the Shadows bleeds into the industrial sounding call to arms that is Supernatural, the whole building seems to shake to its beer soaked foundations. The Leadmill was made for nights like this.
Imagine if four people were locked in a room with nothing but old Tears for Fears records and a wardrobe full of black t-shirts, and you are somewhere close to The Slow Readers Club sound and aesthetic. While they wear their influences on their sleeve, the Manchester band have produced an aural experience that is undoubtedly their own. On a live stage it sounds almost preposterously humongous and there is a feeling that the next time the band return to Sheffield, it could well be to play the Academy.
Plant The Seed is one of the best tracks from 2015’s Cavalcade and it provokes a big crowd reaction here before Block Out The Sun and The Boy Has No Future speed by in a blur of thundering bass and pounding drums. Indeed, Jim Ryan on bass looks particularly menacing as he destroys his guitar. I’m sure he comes from a lovely home but those bass hooks should see him locked up somewhere.
Refreshingly, the band don’t play an encore, at 17 songs they have done everything they needed to do first time round. How on earth could you follow I Saw A Ghost and On The TV anyway? The latter is the set closer and also the song that deserves to push The Slow Readers Club further into the mainstream. Sheffield goes suitably wild.
Before the crowd can catch their breath, it’s all over. It is clear from Aaron Starkie’s repeated references to previous shows in the city that The Slow Readers Club love Sheffield, and in a venue awash with history and stained with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Sheffield loves them right back.