Live Review: Slow Club with the Young Rapids and Air Waves, DC9, Washington DC – 14th February 2012

By on Thursday, 16th February 2012 at 2:00 pm

The period of November through February is usually marked by the extreme scarcity of gigs in the Washington DC area. This year on Valentine’s Day though, I was adamant I was not going to spend it alone, moping at home. Cue Slow Club to the rescue, as they had booked the first night of their North American tour for their first DC ever, and also cue several local friends who made me feel not as lonely as I normally would on the Single Person’s Worst Day of the Year. Rebecca Taylor’s t-shirt, on which a cartoon drawing made it look like Mickey Mouse was grabbing her breasts, was worth a good bit of comic relief alone.

The two opening bands couldn’t have been more different. Local band the Young Rapids switched off instruments between members but remarkably, they sounded best when the bloke who started off on bass guitar switched places with the drummer, who picked up not a bass but another guitar. (Heresy in the eyes of a bass player like me!) They were definitely better when the tempo was sped up, but if you look at their Facebook page, you’d think all they did were drawn out numbers with plinky plonky piano.

The New York City band Air Waves was next. Nicole Schneit fronts the band, and she reminded me of Laura Marling in her shyness in interacting with the crowd. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a woman front a band (and I’m not talking about Florence and the Machine or Lykke Li, both of whom have backing bands for the purpose of touring). I really wanted to like this band: I actually really liked their sound, except that I couldn’t get over the vocals. The lyrics were so simple and the songs were peppered with lots of “oh oh ohs” on songs like ‘Lightning’ that I considered maybe that was the band’s appeal to everyone else, who seemed to really be digging them. And Schneit’s voice was so soft and sweet, I wondered if it was just nerves on the first day of the tour that was making her vocals so tentative.

Then Slow Club appeared. First out of the gate was a stunning acoustic rendition of Pulp’s ‘Disco 2000’. It took me off guard that unfortunately, I couldn’t commit it to video. It was so jaw-droppingly beautiful, Jarvis would have been sobbing in the corner. Rebecca Taylor asked how everyone was doing and then admitted that she was ill and felt “grumpy”. I figure we had a stroke of luck then, getting to see them on the first date of their tour, as except for a couple coughs here and there, her vocals matched beautifully with those of her Club compadre Charles Watson.

There were some issues with monitors not working and occasional screeches of microphone feedback, which were the venue’s issues, not the band’s, but these were little problems that did nothing to undermine the swells of their sound. ‘Horses Jumping’, which began with Watson singing alone and then the song built to its eventual beautuous climax. Described by Taylor as “the song we like to call ‘Vaginas'” (what?), ‘Beginners’ sounded peerless with the duo and their backing band (dubbed by Watson as “the rhythm section of dreams”) all contributing their specific vocal parts perfectly. Some bratty gig goers complained that they wanted to hear material from ‘Yeah, So’ instead of the newer ‘Paradise’, and Taylor was visibly annoyed by this. Still, ending the night with ‘Giving Up on Love’ and ‘Christmas TV’ (both videos below) should have appeased them. All in all, a pretty good Tuesday night in Washington. With or without a bothersome holiday.



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2 Responses

9:00 pm
17th February 2012

Mary- turn off you flash. It’s rude.

[…] The one 2 years ago was spent in the company of a similarly lovelorn girlfriend and we watched Slow Club perform at DC9. But in general, most of my Valentine’s Days have been spent in hiding, wallowing in the kind […]

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