The Slow Readers Club Live at Manchester’s Night and Day Cafe

Back in Manchester for the second time this week after seeing the incredible Ninth Wave at the Deaf Institute on Tuesday it off to another of my favourite venues tonight, Night &,Day Cafe to see wait, what?

This can’t be right? The Slow Readers Club?

Now this band might be relatively unknown outside the Greater Manchester area due to the criminal lack of airplay they receive from national radio but in Manchester, they’re more used to selling out all but the very largest Manchester has available nevermind such a tiny venue so this is definitely tonight’s hottest ticket in town.

Once again thanks to the pandemic it’s yet another delayed album launch event, this time for The Joy Of The Return (JOTR), their first top 10 albums that owing to the 18 months of delays postponing said launch JOTR isn’t even their latest release as they managed another album, 91 Days In Isolation in the meantime.

First up is the support Izzy walsh, resplendent in a white cowboy suit. Prior to tonight I didn’t know much about her but during her acoustic set she showed off what a great voice she possesses, f you were to describe her you’d probably say she sounds like Lauren Laverne singing Amy McDonald songs, Melancholy yet Upbeat.
Stood just fore of the sound desk the noise behind was getting louder after her set as the late arrivers were rocking up, I’ve been to a fair few gigs at N&D but tonight it is without doubt, the busiest and noisiest I’ve witnessed in there before the lights went down, quite the shock to the system hearing such a busy bar once more post-pandemic. 

Times closing in now, the familiar REAAADDDDEERRRRSSSS Chants are beginning and it’s lights down as David the drummer walks on stage followed swiftly by Jim on bass and Kurtis on guitar.

Following on from the JOTR tour band intros they’ve mixed it up a little, for the past several years as soon as you heard Donna Summers I Feel Love the house lights would drop and the band would walk on stage but they have jettisoned this for starting a drum loop of the opening track, Jim and Kurt joining in at some point and then Aaron entering the stage to straight into the vocals.

A powerful intention of what you’re getting tonight as they’re Straight into The Wait with force and it’s clear that even though tonight’s gig is at the end of a busy few weeks touring for the band that the enforced break has done wonders for Aaron’s incredible vocal range which has previously suffered somewhat by the hammering it’s given over a tour is absolutely nowhere to be seen, his highs are high and his lows that powerful I heard myself utter a little “fucking hell” at one point.

The band then jump straight into Fool For Your Philosophy, a classic fan favourite stomper and the crowd erupt, there’s definitely a lot of long term fans here tonight who know what to do and when to do it as the band move onto You Opened Up My Heart. A special mention has to be said for Ashley Ennevers lighting rigs and his controls of them as they produce a stunning visual effect to the band’s performance that enhances the gig to another level and gives the gig TOGS and crowd a photography challenge as Heart slips into another fan favourite Plant The Seed and again the crowd response is almost like it’s choreographed such is their precision to every section of the song.

Aaron takes a break to address the crowd after and jokingly announces that after some 10 years the band have been going tonight was actually the first time they’ve managed to sell out Night & Day after playing to some various sized audiences in the past and then it’s straight back into it with Supernatural followed by Two Minute Hate, a response to how Social Media became during the early lockdown and then onto Jericho, dedicated to a new Readers fan, a certain King Of The North Andy Burnham who Aaron said was here tonight and indeed he was as he was stood three feet away from myself and I can attest that he’s still very much a virgin fan as he didn’t know a single crowd action…

With playing All The Idols the band have turned it down a notch to give the now rather hot and sweaty crowd a rest, a dangerous atmosphere killer at times but no fear tonight as they jump into Forever On Your Debt where the crowds clapping is that on point and in unison that it’s echoing around the building like a Marching Army is parading through and the building starts bouncing once again. 

All I Hear, Paris and Everything I own continues the party atmosphere and then it’s into the latest single Tell No Lies where Aaron announces the star of the video Craig Parkinson is also amongst us (not difficult to spot, he’s not exactly short) its based around the control ahead of a cult has over its members and where Aaron sets them free, whereas the irony of tonight it’s clear that the band have an almost cult-like following amongst their fans who throughout their performance drive them on none more evident than during I Saw A Ghost where the crowd were clapping arms aloft from the front to the very back of the building.

Feet On Fire has the crowd doing the Starkey Stomp as it’s known, On The TV has the entire crowd Dah Dah’ing and bouncing long after the song ends that the band start back up again as Aaron jumps into the crowd to bounce along with the audience and finally they finish with Lunatic whee Aaron is once again leaning over the crowd surveying all that he controls.

It’s mindbogglingly crazy that a band flying under the radar like The Slow Readers Club seem to do can put on such a performance and have the love of so many who attend their gigs and not be selling out 1500-2000 capacity venues on every tour compared to some considerably lesser bands that have got the radio support from the nationals to the point it’s almost laughable. Shame on you 6 Music, Radio 2 et all, it’s nights like these us music lovers live for to experience!