Slowly Slowly headlined a night of four acts at the Torquay Hotel last Friday night. Jack Parsons and Dover Island warmed the crowd before grungy, hairbanging rockers Loser opened for the headlining act.
As Slowly Slowly took to the stage they were met with anticipating whistles. The best word that comes to mind to describe this band is ‘animated’. As they opened with ‘Sunburnt Shoulders’ front-man Ben Stewart, guitarist Albert Doan, and bassist Alex Quayle switched positions several times. Stewart is clearly in a place he loves, his eyes flashing around the room, grin painted to his face.
The moshing began for ‘Aliens’, the audience yelling the chorus along with the band. By the electric break, it was hard to tell whether to band or the audience here moving more. As the pre-chorus of ‘Creature of Habit Pt. 2’ came around, the entirety of the room seemed to belt along “Olly olly oxen free not sorry!”, fists pumping with each word.
“There’s such a big vibe in this room” Stewart announced before taking a neck from the bottle of red he’d bought onto the stage. Slowly Slowly seem at home; their garage rock and punk sound come to life brilliantly. They sound just as good as on record, but bring movement and personality to the set, as well as rocking as hard as they can.
Their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ was well received, having been performed by the band for triple j’s Like a Version in April. From the opening, slow chords the audience swayed along, by the closing minute a single lighter hung in the air among several mobile phone lights.
The band rewarded long-time fans with tracks like ‘Hey You’ and ‘PMTWGR’ from their debut album Chamomile. ‘Death Proof’, also from their debut release, saw the lights dimmed, the audience shouting an emotional chorus over the band’s vocals.
Stewart holds his microphone intimately, switching between speaking into it like a lover and shouting into it while vamping away at his guitar. By the start of the song that everybody seemed to be there for, ‘Jellyfish’, the crowd went crazy. Everyone compacted as close as they could to the stage, people crowd surfed, beer was sprayed everywhere imaginable. This single song captured the entire energy of the band and their following perfectly.
Amid their final songs Stewart grabbed the mic to let the crowd know “I really love this show, you guys are fucking great!”. ‘Dinosaurs’ barely required live vocals; the audience sang for the band, hands swaying in the air together, drummer Patrick Murphy belting away. Slowly Slowly closed explosively with ‘Ten Leaf Clover’ from 2018’s St. Leonards. The mosh erupted for the drop, and the closing two minutes saw Stewart crowd surf from the stage before literally hanging off the ceiling’s scaffolding, managing to sing the entire time.
Afterward, Slowly Slowly made time to hang out with those that had come for the gig. These guys are pretty down to earth, still humble and repetitively thankful to anyone that supports them. Their tracks were louder and hard-hitting live, the lyricism full of shouted emotions and the stage never still.
Where: The Torquay Hotel, Torquay
When: Friday, November 8
Reviewed by Thom Devereux
Photo by @pattohara