On the final leg of their UK Christmas tour, duo Slow Club ascended the stage at the beautiful stained-glassed and atmospheric Union Chapel in north London last Friday (16th December). With a plethora of singles and albums, including the festive EP Christmas Thanks for Nothing, the band had a fair amount of material to comprise their setlist with, but thankfully they made the bold but definitely correct move in focussing their performance on their most recent releases.
Cosily seated on pews, the audience eagerly awaited Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson to take their places on the minimalist stage, before they broke into ‘Come On Poet’. Lifted from their latest release One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore, but not being one of its singles, this track was an unlikely choice but proved successful as Taylor’s voice resonated through the entire chapel. With the harder-hitting, emotional bridge of the song, Taylor was so far from the mic that the audience could really appreciate the talent, range and depth of her vocals, even if it was a tad obvious that she’d drunk a few G&Ts beforehand. Forgetting to plug her guitar in, she branded it as self sabotage leading to a moment of comedic self-depreciation as she emphasises that the duo’s music is exactly about that with regards to love, relationships, and maturation.
The guitar situation wasn’t the only only “fuck-up” of the night, as into the set’s third song ‘Not Mine To Love’, Taylor cuts off the track just before its second verse thoroughly peeved at the atmospheric fog on stage getting in her way. With the audience laughing away at her brutal honesty, Taylor swiftly went straight back into the track, showing off the effortlessness of her talents, switching between her north London vernacular and her heartfelt, resonating vocals.
Watson takes over the next track ‘Sweetest Grape On The Vine’, arguably one of the weaker songs on the band’s latest offering. However, with this stripped back version and the wonderful acoustics of the venue, the Watson-led track was brought to life, showing the audience that although Taylor may take over on stage leading the concert, the talents of Watson should not be forgotten.
The entire set, even with a couple of mishaps, was hugely emotional, romantic and ethereal, enhanced by the beautiful venue. However, ‘Champion’ which evidently meant a lot to Taylor, hit the audience hard. “About not being able to wake up” this track, like many others performed that night, was brought to life with the lyrics resonating around the chapel giving weight to the song’s message.
Coming back onstage for a festive encore – which the audience were well aware would happen as Taylor let this slip very early on – Watson kicks off with ‘All Alone On Christmas’ which features on Christmas Thanks For Nothing. Coming to the front of the stage, the duo end their concert with an off-mic, acoustic performance of ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ and their own original track ‘Christmas TV’ a traditional duet, which featured on the then XFM (now Radio X) advent calendar a few years back. It’s a heartfelt and quirky song about young love and a long-distance relationship leading couples in the audience – there was an abundance of them – to snuggle up in the chilly Union Chapel.
Slow Club announced that this concert would unfortunately be their last for a long time, but that in this last string of performances their close friend had been filming and making a documentary about the duo and their art.
At Union Chapel, Slow Club proved, once again, that their music sounds incredibly effortless and magical live, and their maturation as artists resonates in the music they create and bring to life on stage.