2018 will always hold a place in my heart as the year I discovered, and pretty much fell in love with, The Slow Readers Club

The journey started at the end of 2017 as I stood in Manchester’s Albert Hall waiting for James to come on stage. Suddenly, the room erupted with shouts of “Readers” and I had no idea what was going on (what can I say? I’m a bit slow). That is the moment that let to me, standing in the The Apollo in December 2018, surrounded by thousands of people wearing Slow Readers t-shirts, scarves and puffa jackets, joining in with the now familiar chant of “Readers”. I’d found my home.

This gig was everything I could have hoped for and more. On to the stage walked the band, accompanied, somewhat surprisingly, by Donna Summer’s I Feel the Love and some flashy spotlights. As they began to play Lunatic, the crowd erupted and a mosh pit appeared as middle-aged men fist-bumped euphorically. It wasn’t until the third song that the band finally addressed the crowd. “He doesn’t speak much,” was my brother-in-law’s response. “Enigmatic,” was mine. Speaking isn’t necessary when the guitar is being used to produce such unique and soaring melodies. 

Sirens is played, and all thoughts of talking are forgotten. What follows is a mixture of Slow Readers’ songs old and new, cleverly intertwined celebrating their journey so far. And what a journey it has been. The most surprising revelation of the night came when front man Aaron proudly told the crowd that they’d finally been able to give up their day jobs. He thanked the crowd for coming to their gigs and supporting them by buying their merchandise. A heartfelt statement that was, rather appropriately, followed by Forever in Your Debt.

All in all, it was an amazing night rounded off by rousing renditions of fan-favourite I Saw a Ghost and the latest single, On The TV. If this year is anything to go by, Slow Readers will be standing on top of their tower for many years to come. And I, for one, will be right there with them.

By Nancy Arnall