Review by Simon Saynor with Photos by Liam McEvoy

Sheffield has always had a love affair with The Slow Readers Club and vice versa and so it is that the SRC juggernaut roles into The Steel City for the 13th night of their mammoth 48 date UK & mainland Europe tour. The fact they’ve sold out the Leadmill main room is testament to this love affair. As singer Aaron Starkie alludes to on stage it is their biggest gig outside their home city of Manchester.

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‘Lunatic’, the lead single from last year’s top 20 album ‘Build A Tower’, opens proceedings. It’s a perfect opener. The crowd, arms aloft, drowning out Aaron on the ‘Build a tower, hundred storeys high’ chorus. It’s pandemonium stage front from the off and only got more chaotic as the night went on. Sheffield really does adore The Slow Readers Club and this reviewer had to take his fragile frame out of the melee. Third track in is debut single ‘Sirens’, a staggering eight years old now. It still sounds as fresh as it did back in 2011. The band are as tight as they come up on that stage. Aaron’s voice soaring to a heart-wrenching falsetto at times and then straight back down effortlessly. There are no theatrics but they have the crowd entranced. His brother Kurtis’ guitar swirls and swoops through every track and through every soul in that packed out, sweaty room. Jim Ryan on bass looks almost menacing, prowling his corner of the stage, invariably stage front, challenging the crowd not to go, well, batshit-crazy to be honest. He has no worries there. Along with David Whitworth on drums they keep the relentless pounding beat of the TSRC flowing, never missing a beat. It is this phenomenal rhythm section that allow the Starkie Brothers to throw continuous melodic assaults into the Sheffield night.

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As mentioned it is eight years since their debut single but it was only at the beginning of this year that the band took the commendably brave step to go full time as a band. Quitting the day job to throw it all into what is a precarious industry takes some guts. Aaron thanks the crowd for the support through all the years. It is a genuinely touching moment, fully aware that without that, ever growing, hardcore fanbase it just wouldn’t be possible. The crowd respond with the now familiar (and omnipresent) Readers chant, a chant born at Crystal stage at the 2014 Tramlines Festival here in Sheffield. It has a ‘We’re all in this together’ feel.

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We get a 17 song set taking in all three Readers albums with brand new track ‘The Wait’ thrown in as well. It’s as a good a song as anything they’ve ever done. Before that we get the magnificent ‘You Opened Up My Heart’ merging faultlessly into ‘Plant The Seed’. It is a stand out moment of a very special gig. Two of my favourite Readers tunes and despite coming from different albums sound like they have always been back to back. We’re racing towards the end still with the band dipping liberally into their whole canon. ‘Forever In You Debt’ is a builder. It’s the track I send people to when they ask about TSRC. Stomping along, catchy, ethereal at times. Climatic. It’s a monster. Also from 2nd album ‘Cavalcade’ we get ‘I Saw A Ghost’ before show closer, latest single. ‘On The TV’. Such a relevant song for the times we live in. ‘And now on the TV the world is on fire, we’ve all gone insane and I’m riding on a wave of sorrow’, written from the perspective of those moments when the family sit around the TV, somewhat perturbed from what they’re witnessing and you ask your parents if everything is going to be OK. It’s a remarkable song and live scales brand new heights. It’s a fitting end. There’s no encore. I always like that rather than the fake calling the band back nonsense. Leave it all on that stage in one go does for me every time.

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The Slow Readers Club have been growing ever bigger and now they are a full time band there really will be no stopping them. Don’t be surprised if in a couple of years their Sheffield gigs will have to be at the Arena down the road. But for those who packed out and sang and danced and stomped at The Leadmill tonight know you were at what will turn out to be an historic gig. A truly special night.

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Setlist
Lunatic
Lives Never Known
Sirens
Fool For Your Philosophy
Supernatural
Never Said I Was The Only One
Days Like This Will Break Your Heart
Start Again
You Opened Up My Heart
Plant the Seed
Block Out the Sun
The Wait
Lost Boys
Forever in Your Debt
Feet on Fire
I Saw a Ghost
On The TV

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

One Response to “The Slow Readers Club at The Leadmill, Sheffield, UK – 16th March 2019”

  1. David Oselton Says:

    Great review dead right about the YOUMH / Plant The Seed squec,, when it was first played at Head to the Hills festival I thought WOw that is special

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