Concert Review: Slow Club, September 24, Horseshoe Tavern

slow club

Remember when Slow Club was a twee band? When the Sheffield, UK duo made their 2009 debut with Yeah So, I could not get enough of their precocious and adorable boy-girl harmonies. Their music was like a junior Belle and Sebastian mixed in with the reckless abandon of the White Stripes.

Fast-forward five years later, with two more album under their belts, Slow Club are a much more sophisticated and slicker band, especially with their latest, retro/R&B-tinged release, Complete Surrender. Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson are still Slow Club but they’re older, more polished. Though they’re still charming (the British accents ensure that, really), Slow Club are definitely twee no longer.

The Horseshoe was an appropriate upgrade (size-wise) from their 2012 Rivoli show to promote their second album, Paradise. Rebecca joked several times that she couldn’t believe anybody even showed up to see them play. She confessed she’d been in a bad mood prior to coming onstage but seeing the audience made her feel much happier.

Both Taylor and Watson are strong singers and talented musicians, switching instruments (guitar, keyboards, drums) throughout their set. The band was rounded out with a bassist and drummer (who switched to guitar when Taylor played drums). Taylor and Watson’s voices complement one another’s when singing together (“Tears of Joy,” “Two Cousins”) but on their own, each is fantastic in their own right. Taylor demonstrated her powerful voice in the very 60’s Motown-esque “Suffering You, Suffering Me” and emotive quietness in “Not Mine to Love” and “Dependable People And Things That I’m Sure Of.” Watson took the lead on “Paraguay And Panama” and “Wanderer Wandering.”

The only tune they played from their debut album was “Our Most Brilliant Friends,” which produced the loudest audience singalong.

After a three-song encore, Rebecca hopped off the stage into the audience, with Charles trailing behind her with his acoustic guitar. The crowd parted for the duo to walk through and gathered around as Charles quietly began to strum his guitar. With awestruck fans smiling and surrounding them, Slow Club played “Hackney Marsh.” It reminded me of the first time I saw them play a small, intimate show at the Dakota (in 2009, their first time in Toronto). Though I may never love any of their albums more than Yeah So, it’s always thrilling to witness a band’s musical evolution.

Posted on by Wini Lo in Concerts

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