The Slow Readers Club is an English rock band from Manchester.
Before The Slow Readers Club there was Omerta. They formed in 2003 and signed to Manchester's hip Northern Ambition label in 2005 when they released three singles that sold out on the day of release and became collector's editions. Their double a-side debut Everything Is Frozen / Learn To Love The System was followed by One More Chance and their final single One More Minute. Despite having the world in front of them as the likes of Steve Lamacq championed them, the band dispersed around 2007. And that could have been that.
The Slow Readers Club
Not to be dissuaded so easily, front man Aaron Starkie regrouped and formed The Slow Readers Club and they released their self-titled debut album at the tail end of 2011, featuring some of the best songs from the Omerta days, but also a trio of killer singles Feet On Fire, Sirens and Block Out The Sun.
The band was still going through a number of line up changes at this point and it wasn't until they settled on the current four-piece line-up of Aaron Starkie on vocals, Kurtis Starkie on guitar and backing vocals, Jim Ryan on bass and David Whitworth on drums that things really started to take shape. 2013 saw a one-off single Forever In Your Debt and a bolder, more strident confident sound that was made for radio. Hidden away on the b-side was Days Like This Will Break Your Heart, a song most bands would consider their best work. Slowly but surely that buzz about them that had been lost started to return as their live audience around Manchester started to grow as word spread about them aided with shows supporting the likes of Catfish And The Bottlemen. They introduced new songs to their set, each one feeling like a major triumph in its own right as they slowly but surely wrote the tracks that would make up their second album Cavalcade.
Ahead of the release of Cavalcade in April 2015, they released a string of singles - Start Again, Don't Mind and I Saw A Ghost - that saw them become favourites with the likes of Steve Lamacq and Chris Hawkins on 6 Music as well as Hattie Pearson on XFM. They were invited to play one of XFM's much-missed First Friday club nights at the Band On The Wall in Manchester as well as being filmed performing I Saw A Ghost acoustically in Manchester Central Library. A few months prior to that they'd become the first band to play the newly revamped library and their show was recorded for release as Live At The Library, a digital only album that captured a mix of songs from both albums and the band on top form, adding new life to those from the debut as well as revealing tracks from Cavalcade for the first time.
There was a growing buzz around their live shows as well. Around Manchester venue sizes were increasingly steadily and they were starting to gather a substantial following around the country and further afield in places such as Italy and Ireland. By the time Cavalcade was released in April 2015, they'd sold out Manchester Academy 3 weeks in advance, but that was just the start. After a summer of festival headline slots at Far Out Festival, Headlander and the Manchester Food And Drink Festival as well as well-received sets at the Isle Of Wight Festival and Sheffield's Tramlines topped off by a stunning you-had-to-be-there set in the tent at Ramsbottom Festival that had people queuing to get in to get a glimpse of the most talked about band of the day, they sold out a triumphant show at Manchester's Gorilla to finish off the year as part of a successful national tour.
With Cavalcade claiming top spot in Manchester blog's Even The Stars' albums of the year 2015 poll and another sold-out Manchester show on the horizon at St Philips Church followed by a bigger national tour and dates in Montpellier and Dublin, the scene was already set for them to continue their organic growth in 2016 as they set about writing songs for their third album. They took time out to perform at a sold-out Sound Control in Manchester for a David Bowie tribute event where they stunned Bowie lovers with an acoustic rendition of Bowie's Life On Mars.
It was around this time that Jim Glennie of Manchester legends James tweeted a video of Aaron and Kurtis performing an acoustic version of I Saw A Ghost in Manchester Central Library for video blog Matter Of Sound produced by Radio X's Hattie Pearson. One thing led to another and The Slow Readers Club were asked, at the personal invitation of Jim and Saul Davies, to support James on their Girl At The End Of The World tour in May 2016. The Slow Readers Club performed at venues such as Bristol Colston Hall, Southend Cliffs Pavilion, London Kentish Town Forum and Brixton Academy, Llandudno Venue Cymru, Manchester Arena, Hull City Hall and Newcastle City Hall. One special night was at Bournemouth O2 Academy where Aaron and Kurtis performed an acoustic set because David had to miss a show to be at the birth of his children and they were joined on stage by Saul Davies who played violin on Forever In Your Debt. Just before the tour they made their first visit to Ireland and sold out The Workman's Club by nothing more than word of mouth and the support of local radio station TXFM.
Buoyed by the success of the James dates, the band played a number of notable festival dates, packing out a tent at Kendal Calling, playing two sets at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth as well as appearing at Yorfest, Tramlines in Sheffield and returning to Ireland to play Castlepolooza before finishing the festival season with a second-stage headline at Ramsbottom Festival.
They announced their biggest headline show to date at Manchester's Ritz for 18 November 2016 and the show sold out two months in advance, no mean feat for an unsigned band that still had day jobs. The triumphant show was live-streamed and featured 17 songs from across their two albums plus two new songs Lunatic and Through The Shadows from the sessions for their third album. The Manchester Evening News stated of the show "It would be wrong to call them Manchester's best kept secret, because any band who can sell out the Ritz is clearly not a secret. But alongside the likes of Cabbage and Blossoms, The Slow Readers Club are currently one of the most exciting sounds coming out of our fair city.But alongside the likes of Cabbage and Blossoms, The Slow Readers Club are currently one of the most exciting sounds coming out of our fair city."
They also sold out a return to Dublin at the 500-capacity Whelan's venue as well as the 600-capacity Hackney Oslo in London. They play three further dates with James at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Sheffield Academy and Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall in December.