Less than a year ago, Slow Club were still playing tiny little rooms around the country, cementing an intimacy with their audience that could inevitably distance the more successful they became. Tonight’s show at KOKO is the largest headlining gig that Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson have ever done – not bad for a couple of self-described “daft kids from Rotherham”.
First though, Moshi Moshi labelmates Summer Camp warmed up a horribly cold and rainy night. Not in fact a seven-piece Swedish twee-pop band as they first claimed to be, Summer Camp are actually Transgressive troubadour Jeremy Warmsley and his other half, the editor of Platform magazine, Elizabeth Sankey. It’s easy to be cynical when a music journalist forms a band, but Summer Camp are undeniably brilliant – their 20 minute set bounces along irresistibly, with songs that sound immediately accessible and addictive. If Was It Worth It, It’s Summer and especially Ghost Train aren’t cult favourites by the end of the year, then there really will be no justice. Welcome to your new favourite band.
Veronica Falls are almost as impressive – scuzzy, fuzzy jangly pop shot through with some sweet boy/girl harmonies. For a new band, they sound astonishingly muscular and confident, and in frontwoman Roxanne Clifford, they may well have unearthed one of the stars of 2011. Both Starry Eyed and Stephen make an impression, but it’s Found Love In A Graveyard that marks out them out as something special.
The size of KOKO means that it’s impossible for Slow Club to perform their usual entrance – the acoustic version of Wild Blue Milk sang by Rebecca and Charles right in the middle of the audience. Instead, they rushed onto stage, augmented by Warmsley on bass and drummer Matt Ingram and burst into a brand new song – sounding as charmingly chaotic and melodic as ever.
Early signs were that the nerves may have kicked in, with an unusual lack of audience interaction at first, but once the opening lines of Our Most Brilliant Friends were sung along to by the crowd, things settled down. Highlights from Yeah So – ranging from the exhilarating double-whammy of Trophy Room and Because We’re Dead and the hauntingly beautiful renditions of There’s No Good Way To Say I’m Leaving You and Rebecca’s solo Sorry About The Doom – rubbed shoulders with new songs that hinted that Slow Club’s second album could really be something particularly special.
Although this was the duo’s biggest headlining show ever, there was still a lovely intimate air to proceedings – that unmiked rendition of Wild Blue Milk survived, but this time performed right on the front of the stage, and Rebecca’s between-song chat covered such topics as why Alexandra Burke‘s Bad Boys is “the best single of 2009, bar none” and a truly terrible joke about cheese, all the while receiving declarations of love from the audience (“everybody loves Rebecca….nobody ever tells me they love me” grumbled Charles at one point).
Finishing with possibly their most popular song, Christmas TV (“I suppose we’d better play that bloody Christmas song, hadn’t we?” said Rebecca), unmiked and performed at the front of stage, with seemingly the entire capacity of KOKO on backing vocals, it was a typically glorious Slow Club gig – and heartening proof that no matter how big the venues become, the atmosphere remains cosy. In fact, they could probably make Wembley Stadium seem like your front room.