Photos by Nick Tam
Selling out The Corner on back-to-back nights, these rockers are onto a good thing.
A set at Splendour in the Grass, a popular Like A Version and an arena support tour for Amy Shark seems to have done the trick for Melbourne’s Slowly Slowly, who can now add two sold-out headline shows at The Corner Hotel to their resume.
The ‘Jellyfish’ tour, in support of the group’s latest single of the same name, marks a milestone achievement for the four-piece who are set to push things even further when the next full-length release eventually drops.
Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers from Canberra opened up the night with their ’90s-influenced indie-rock. The energetic set engaged the crowd from the opening note and featured a healthy mix of great harmonies and angst. While some moments focused on power-pop, it was the newer grungier tracks, ‘I Like That You Like That’ and ‘See You In A Bit (I Still Care)’ that were the most enjoyable.
The second tour support came all the way from Perth; Sly Withers brought out the anthemic punk with dual vocals discussing all of the suburban woes possible with catchy and fun lyrics. The band obviously had a few fans in the room, based on the sporadic singalongs, and were enjoying a near-full venue by the end of the set. Two well-chosen supports that were able to hold their own and ramp up the party atmosphere.
Slowly Slowly have obviously been feeling the love during this tour and, in an effort to share it around, tried a small social experiment where a select handful of people who arrived early were given lanyards with numbers printed on them. The deal was, if you find the person with your corresponding number, you both get drink specials and a new friend. A great little endeavour to encourage a sense of community in conjunction with the Tell Your Friends You Love Them movement, which looks to change the way people show and hide emotion to support positive mental health.
Opening with ‘Sunburnt Shoulders’ from last year’s St. Leonards record, the band immediately showed how their relentless touring has paid off. Having seen them a few times over the years, the shift to a powerful, professional headline outfit is clearly complete.
Musically, there was a significant focus on St. Leonards, but plenty of older, seldom-heard tracks were polished up to give an unofficial discography overview. The band’s Like A Version of Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ brought out the first big singalong before ramping things up with a heavy version of ‘Smile Lines’ that featured guest vocals from Pagan vocalist Nikki Brumen, who handles the stage duties while Slowly’s Ben Stewart crowd-surfed his way around the front rows.
The evening highlight came after the very first Slowly Slowly intermission and costume-change, when two stripped-down piano versions of ‘Christmas Lights’ and ‘Song for Shae’ brought a hushed silence to the room and even some tears to eyes. A lucky audience member was found to have a matching lanyard number with Stewart, meaning they were able to come on stage to direct the dance moves for the new single ‘Jellyfish’, and we even scored a thirty-second glimpse at a new song.
The encore ended with the one-two punch of ‘Dinosaurs’ and ‘Extinction’. Some new friendships formed and a very happy Slowly Slowly were able to look forward to round two and whatever other giant things are coming their way soon.
Highlight: The stripped back versions of ‘Christmas Lights’ and ‘Song for Shae’.
Lowlight: The lack of new material – let’s hear some more new stuff!
Crowd favourite: The oldest material seemed to procure the loudest singalongs.