Live Review

Slow Club & Summer Camp, Fac251, Manchester

Effortlessly brilliant.

Added to the throng of nostalgic, Madchester promoting nightclubs that the city already has to offer, it’s fair to say that FAC251 does little to build upon the rich seam of culture that the rainy city has given the world, preferring to plough through its past glories to reap reward. If it’s poor as a nightspot, it’s not much better as a venue, despite the heritage that it draws much of its profit from. By some strange twist of fate, however, the grave robbing antics occasionally manage to throw up an entirely respectable gig – Summer Camp supporting Slow Club isn’t a performance to turn your nose up to no matter where it’s on.

The venue’s obvious failings - opening an hour later than advertised, a lack of flyering, a playlist not changed from the usual true lad patrons of the club – seem to pass on to the opening act. Despite the massive amounts of hype that they’ve received, Summer Camp put on a solid if unspectacular set. ‘Ghost Train’, with it’s sunbleached, haunting melodies still manages to shine, but it’s hard not to think that the set up of the band somewhat wastes the undoubted talents of Jeremy Warmsley’s delivery on vocals.

Of course, it would be difficult for most bands to shine when on the same bill as Slow Club. Touted as the ‘best live band in the UK’ by Gareth of Los Campesinos!, it’s a claim that is deeply rooted in their consistently impressive performances. Opening, as is now the norm, by walking in from the back of the room singing ‘Wild Blue Milk’, there’s always the air that you’re watching something truly special when Charles and Rebecca take to the stage. Joined by members of Summer Camp for their opening numbers, they’re utterly flawless throughout, showing the professionalism of a band much further into their career than they are. After last year’s ‘Yeah, So’, the two are in the process of writing their follow-up, tempering the more familiar numbers with untested new material, managing to stay both fresh and familiar by alternating between the two.

If the reception that of the latest material is anything to go by, there’s no need to worry about a sophomore slump, with the band improving upon the formula that has garnered them so many fans being fine tuned, meaning each track has a vitality and punch that some efforts like ‘Come on Youth’ from the debut sometimes missed. Of course, it is the old favourites that have the biggest response, particularly from a particularly cringe worthy couple stood dead centre, who seem to know each and every word from ‘Yeah, So’, being particularly vocal about the fact. Effortlessly brilliant, the band don’t let a drunk man flailing his arms and screaming his love faze them, blasting through a sublime set, capping it off by bringing out Summer Camp for the encore – unveiling suitably bombastic cover of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ‘The Night’. It’s not hard to believe that the stars that our grandchildren will be filling unsatisfactory venues for will one day find themselves covering ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’ with equal fervour – but they’d have to be bloody good to come close to the brilliance of a Slow Club gig.

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