The Brudenell is buzzing with love for South Yorkshire. Supporting Sheffield’s Slow Club are Rotherham’s Mad Colours (almost-freshly reincarnated from The Heebie Jeebies), and bassist Del Hoyle is energetic enough for all his bandmates, as he spreads a whisper of infectiousness into their pleasant indie. Mad Colours somehow struggle though to live up to their reputation as party bandits, despite catchy basslines and a few cheeky hooks. Perhaps it’s vocalist Owen Adams’ disinterested demeanour, or that the Brudenell is sold out for local(ish) heroes Slow Club, and there’s an element of nerves – but there’s just no inspiring the audience to their feet.
But Slow Club, as you would hope with their loyal following in Leeds, have no such trouble, and the stage is surrounded by wide-eyed eager faces just minutes into the change-over time. Half an hour later, bang on cue, Rebecca and Charles walk on stage to awe-ful pindrop silence. Without a word, Charles sweetly, teasingly, and understatedly begins to sing the lyrics to Pulp’s ‘Disco 2000’, and as Rebecca joins him you can feel the wonder in the room for such a sensitive, lo-fi cover from the duo. As the crowd joins in with the “oo-oo’s” towards the end and the vocals tail off exquisitely, the calm crashes into oblivion with a drum roll – heralding the bouncy and powerful ‘Where I’m Waking’. Delicious indie-pop melodies follow, with ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’, and merge into laidback, birdlike ballads with just a hint of poignancy, punctuated by the occasional banter from Rebecca who manages to introduce the band and the TShirts on sale while relating them in her adorable, down to earth way, to a conversation about a cheese toastie.
If Slow Club’s melodic strength is their ability to make twee indie pop interesting – nay engaging – then their vocal strength can be found in Rebecca. She starts with a dainty, harmonious ballad, and as the bassline builds she cranks her lungs up notch by notch to the full blown crescendo of ‘Never Look Back’. Her command is even more evident in the three new tracks we are treated to, in particular the third, which she owns unequivocally. Her dynamic and powerful vocals tell of broken hearts and promises with such heartwrenching clarity, it’s a performance worthy of a country mega-star (minus that cliched southern twang).
The night wouldn’t have been complete without a performance of the delightful ‘Two Cousins’, and ‘Paradise’, which Charles and Rebecca sneak into the crowd to perform acoustically in the encore. They follow this with their finale super-hit ‘Giving Up On Love’, which fills the room with its raucous and incongruously happy joy, the air filled with voices joining in and feet jumping about. Charles and Rebecca seem to relish playing for the crowd here – as she says by way of a goodbye – “Leeds always makes us feel like the big balls – thankyou!” it really feels like they’ve made Leeds feel like the big balls tonight too.