Slow Club, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Early warning is served tonight that the next Slow Club album is going to be a stunner.

Rating:

Slow Club’s December jaunt around the UK has become as much of a Christmas tradition as turkey, mince pies and Brussels sprouts. This year they arrive on a cold, wet and distinctly un-Christmassy night at Oran Mor in an ebullient mood. As well as the required Christmas songs, tonight’s show is notable for the airing of a number of new songs that bode extremely well for a possible third album next year.

As they have been for a while, Charles and Rebecca are augmented by a full band and there is now a real gang mentality to Slow Club. A gang that everyone in the audience would love to be a part of. Rebecca is the ringleader and engages the crowd throughout, inciting spontaneous roars to liven things up, while Charles is a more restrained and dry presence as he apologies for his slightly croaky voice. As always seems to be the case though in Glasgow the band is beset by technical problems, arriving on stage 15 minutes late due to an unfortunate leaking incident from a toilet upstairs. Fortunately, they are not deterred.

Opening with a gorgeously understated, almost acapella rendition of ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful’, Charles, Rebecca and the band then go on to showcase the highlights of second album ‘Paradise’. There is something wonderfully assured about Slow Club onstage now and songs like ‘If We’re Still Alive’ and ‘Where I’m Waking’ brim with vivacity and energy. The addition of saxophone provided by the brilliant Stephen Black (aka Sweet Baboo) is an excellent accompaniment that provides a whole new dynamic to the songs.

As good as Slow Club’s earlier material is tonight’s highlight is a clutch of really quite stunning new songs. One, introduced by Rebecca as ‘The Queen’s Nose’, “like the telly show”, is a beautifully stirring soulful ballad, and Rebecca’s vocals are a thing of wonder, comparable to any other singer you would ever care to mention. The Fleetwood Mac-ish lilt of ‘Not Mine To Love’ is equally as impressive. Early warning is served tonight that the next Slow Club album is going to be a stunner.

Sadly, the Christmas part of the set is curtailed due to time restrictions. We do have time though for a rapturously received version of ‘Christmas TV’ that almost collapses into a fit of giggles and a celebratory run through of Darlene Love’s ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ to send the crowd home in high spirits full of long overdue Christmas cheer.

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