A sold out show at Queens Social Club was always going to be special. Slow Club have been one of Sheffield’s favourite bands for years now, playing coveted slots at Tramlines and releasing a new album in the summer of last year. The cool February night felt warmer as I approached the Queens Social, knowing I was about to spend an evening with a wonderful band and a few friendly faces.
There’s something interesting about Happyness. Their reserved nature seems against the very idea of their band name but the irony of it all was brilliant. Between songs their lead singer would tell us dryly, “We’re Happyness. Hopefully we’ll still be Happyness when the gig is over. This is our last show with Slow Club. Er. Peace out. Hallelujah. Um.” His deadpan expression earned giggles from the audience, who instantly appreciated his dry wit and awkward humour.
Happyness played through each song as though it was second nature to them; kicking in with a strong beat and ending most songs with an impressive guitar riff. It was more than enough to convince me to check out their music at a later time.
They must be doing something right, as they’re off to America next week to take on SXSW and a tour that will see them through most of April.
Slow Club opened with ‘Tears Of Joy’ to the home crowd, silencing the room within the first few seconds. The room instantly warmed to their sound; I could hear girls singing along and swaying to the music as they took in every note.
Between songs, Rebecca and Charles took it in turns to chat to their audience to fill the silence, drowning out their nerves with idle chitchat. “I’m trying to tune my guitar. I’m not even playing it for this next song…” Rebecca told us, right before they started playing ‘Complete Surrender’, the title track from their latest album.
The applause shattered the room after every song, as if a spell had lifted and we stirred to show our gratitude. Local bands, The Crookes and The Hosts, could be seen in the audience showing support for their friends.
Slow Club seemed overjoyed at playing the hometown show, taking pride in the fact it had been sold out months ago. Rebecca left the stage at one point, leaving Charles to take on ‘Paraguay and Panama’ on his own, delicately performing the acoustic track to the peaceful crowd.
Rebecca returned for ‘Number One’ and I think it was this song that broke the most hearts. Every word full of sincerity, the band played on to warm night. It was a claustrophobic affair, both in proximity and in mind, with the music that connected us all together playing over our heads. I had never seen Slow Club play before, but it was a privilege to be a part of it.
Their penultimate song, ‘Suffering You, Suffering Me’ proved to be a highlight of the night, yet not for the reasons you would expect. One young girl collapsed in the audience, causing the music to come crashing down and bring the house lights up. The crowd stepped back, allowing the girl to recover, and Rebecca could be heard asking, repeatedly, “Is everyone okay? Are you alright?”
We needn’t have panicked; the girl was fine. It had become difficult to breathe in the crowded venue, but fans showed their compassion as they moved aside to help. A moment passed, and the gig resumed when the girl got to her feet once again. The audience applauded her, and Rebecca commented, “it makes us feel really cool, like One Direction!” before starting ‘Suffering You, Suffering Me’ from the top once more.
The last song was introduced by Rebecca, explaining that it was “about her feelings.” The crowd were noisy now, though, chattering through the melancholic finale. To grab their attention she repeated “This is about my feelings!” before adding “One day we’ll do a gig that won’t go wrong…” She needn’t worry, as Slow Club fans seem to appreciate their honesty as much as their talent, willing to accept a few bumps along the way.
It was their last big show for a while, but we’ll look forward to their next shows with just as much enthusiasm as before.