Monday, May 21, 2007

Au Revoir Run Through It

Au Revoir Simone/Slow Club, Glee Club (Studio), Birmingham, Friday May 18 2007.

Sheffield's twee-pop duo Slow Club profess to having a bad day, but on tonight's evidence it'll take more than a few broken guitar strings and a spilt glass of wine to dampen their spirits. Recently signed to Moshi Moshi and with a new single set to hit stores soon, Ian Broudie-lookalike Charles and Rebecca may be full of self-deprecating charm on the outside but deep down we suspect they know they're on to something with their corking tunes, musical improvisation (Rebecca uses milk bottles and a wooden chair as part of her percussive armoury) and all-round sense of fun making for a support slot so fizzy, delicious and more-ish we suspect the setlist to contain more E-Numbers than song titles.

We first brought Brooklyn's Au Revoir Simone to your attention back in December 2005 but this is your correspondent's first opportunity to catch them live, as they tour the UK in support of second album 'The Bird Of Music'. The record is more polished and downbeat than debut 'Verses Of Comfort And Salvation', with lyrics more wintry and sad than is surely right for three girls this gorgeous. The set surprisingly draws almost exclusively from this sombre sophomore effort, but the slightly gauche stage demeanour of the girls adds some welcome levity to proceedings, with Annie bustin' some pumpin' iron dance moves purloined earlier from Charles Slow Club, and giggly references made to the 'intimacy' of the Glee's studio making them feel like schoolgirls at choral practice.

Highlights include the wonderful 'Sad Song'; 'Dark Halls' and ominous album closer 'The Way To There' and what the live experience adds is a greater appreciation of the elaborate arrangements of the new material, but the set feels a couple of songs light, exacerbated by the fact there's no encore. Still, there's few complaints from the audience who, men and women alike, clamber with indecent haste towards the merch stand for some quality time with the girls. But, as brief encounter as it was, your hack saw enough to want to check out the ARS sometime again soon.



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