There are a few things that mainland Europe appreciates more than our little island. Mayonnaise on chips. A mid afternoon snooze. Trains that work as they’re supposed to. And now to that list we can add The Slow Show.
Whilst the five-piece might originally hail from Manchester, their signing to a German record label Haldern Pop Recordings has meant an extensive European following has rapidly built up. They’re big ‘over there’.
This brief five date UK tour came off the back of a number of sizeable gigs played throughout Germany, Holland and France. Maybe the European audiences are just more appreciative of a band whose sound stands out from that which has recently been emerging from Manchester. There have been Elbow comparisons but in reality The Slow Show’s sound is more poignant, considered and lead singer Rob Goodwin’s baritone, deep voice adds yet another layer to the captivating sound. A mosh pit is never going to form at a Slow Show gig but the highlights of the hour-long performance were, in reality, the more upbeat sections when the band turned the pace up a couple of notches and when the brass came to the fore.
The band’s debut album White Water was issued earlier this year and this set was taken almost exclusively from that record. Opening with Long Way Home, the set really sparked into life with the third track Dresden. This beautiful song takes on another level when played live, and the set continued through the album, Testing and Augustine being further high points.
The Slow Show’s stand out track however is Bloodline, a song which gradually builds and builds until an entire brass band finale, the 30-piece Glossop Old Band on the record, replicated by a solitary trumpet and the five accomplished musicians live. After coming back for an all too brief encore, you were left with a feeling that this band could, should and will be bigger than they currently are. Hopefully on a second album where The Slow Show will build upon the high points of the debut and perhaps let themselves go a little more often. Because when they do, they really are very, very good and an album of tunes of these standard alongside the deeper more emotional tones of White Water will undoubtedly move them up the venue ladder and generate an increased UK following.
It’s not right that the mainland Europeans should get the best bits of The Slow Show, the bigger gigs and probably even at some point a Northern brass band. After all, they bought David Hasselhoff’s music and that shouldn’t go unpunished.