I arrive early for tonight's Slow Club gig. The promoters didn't send tickets to the agencies in time, so I want to leave enough time to pick up the tickets on the door. The gig is in the Union Chapel and has unreserved pew seating, so getting early should let me get a decent seat without much fuss. And my planning works out, gaining admittance easily enough and finding a pew near the front with a decent view of the stage. Being able to sit down makes waiting a couple of hours for the headlining band more comfortable, and I also get to hear the support acts. The only problem is that the second support act is Cate Le Bon. Seeing her once was academically interesting, twice was enough to form a firm opinion, a third time is too much. I can't sit through the dreary droning again, so I plug in my headphones and crank up the volume of my iPod for thirty minutes.
There are three support acts tonight, one of which I catch only three songs from, one I ignore as best I can, and the other can't decide if he's a musician or stand-up. He's a pretty good musician, so it's a shame he doesn't stick to that. I end up really quite bored before Slow Club turn up, giving them an unfair struggle to perk me up again. But they manage it with ease, welcoming us to the chapel with a harmonious duet over an organ before launching a more traditional set. Or, at least, they would continue, but Charles tells us that 'Becky has forgotten her sticks'. As Rebecca dashes off the stage to get her drum sticks, Charles remains somewhat amused by their 'great start'. Once Rebecca returns, the pair get in to full swing with the excellent Trophy Room.
The Union Chapel is full to the brim, and it doesn't go unmentioned. 'There's loads of you', Rebecca says, noting that the gig has 'actually sold out, we don't have to pretend'. She is overwhelmed by the response Slow Club are getting, even if all the fans know it is deserved. We are told that the band are going to play some songs from the album, some new songs, and then some Christmas songs. Album tracks include There is no Good Way to Say I'm Leaving, I Was Unconscious, it Was a Dream, and It Doesn't Have to be Beautiful. There is a slight hiccup when Rebecca realises that they haven't played Because We're Dead for a while, and she and Charles need to briefly remind themselves how it starts before playing it as wonderfully as the rest of the set list.
'We're going to go off stage now', says Rebecca, 'and when we come back in a minute or so it may be 25th December'. But before they go, Charles and Rebecca unplug themselves and come to the front of the stage. There is a slight delay, as Rebecca is a little upset to notice the 'Slow Club' design on the front of the kick drum has peeled off, and she pushes it back in to place. The duo then play a purely acoustic number, taking advantage of the fabulous chapel venue and the polite quiet of the audience. The leave to a huge round of applause, returning with a string accompaniment and the drum and bass player they've used a couple of times already during the set.
For the encore, Slow Club play a few Christmas songs from their Christmas EP. The first song has them accompanied by the extra musicians and strings, but then it's back down to just Charles and Rebecca. Wondering about the lateness and the licencing laws, Rebecca asks if they are good for time, only to stop mid-way through the next song. A thump is heard and she wonders if the cops are about to storm the chapel, to Charles's alarm, but she's just teasing and picks up right where she left off a few seconds later. As a finale, all the musicians return to stage, including the three support acts, and Rebecca calls for everyone in the audience to stand and bop along to a final Christmas song. It's wonderfully uplifting and merry, and Slow Club gives the gift of festive cheer to everyone lucky enough to be at the Union Chapel this evening.