IT was playing a sold out show in front of 3,500 adoring fans and then going to back to his 9 to 5 which gave Aaron Starkie pause for thought.

The Slow Readers Club’s gig at Manchester Apollo in December 2018 was not just the biggest of their career but the tipping point when the band decided to pack in their jobs and live the dream full time.

Aaron, a former designer at One marketing agency in Sale, said: “We finished that year by doing a headline show at the Apollo in Manchester in front of 3,500 people.

“At that point you kind of think: ‘Ok, we’re going in the right direction’.

“We’d also saved up a little bit so we took the plunge and then at the beginning of 2019 we did our biggest tour.

“I think we did 32 dates in the UK and then 15 or so dates around Europe.

“So we just committed to it properly. We also did a load of festivals that year too – it took the shackles off basically.”

The Slow Readers Club’s phenomenal success has been particularly noticeable because they have done it all on a grassroots level.

They released their first two albums under their own steam and when they joined the record label, Modern Sky, they think it was largely due to their fans that the broke into the top 20 with 2018’s Build A Tower.

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Aaron added: “It was a celebration for us and our fans really – the ones that lifted us up there.

“I’m sure there were loads buying multiple copies. We have a really passionate fanbase.

“We’re very grateful and it is thanks to them that we’ve been able to jack in the day jobs and do the band full time.

“We’re still a grassroots band for all intents and purposes. Modern Sky are a small independent so it’s not like we have salubrious tour buses and that kind of stuff.”

Ok, so it might not be all bells and whistles but Aaron and the band, including his brother Kurtis, now find themselves in the strange situation of going from a DIY band to having a network of support for their fourth album, The Joy of the Return, that has just been released.

He said: “After so many years of doing everything for ourselves, it’s a balance between wanting to have control over things but also trusting people to help us.

“It’s been great so far though – the last album charted at number 18 and we’re hoping to do around that if not better this time around.”

Recorded at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, their extensive touring allowed them time to write and develop tracks everywhere from sound checks to back of tour van.

The frontman added: “I think this is a real step up compared to the last album in terms of arrangements, the journey the songs take you on and the unexpected changes within tracks.”

Aaron tends to be modest about Slow Readers’ success but, in the process of cracking the music scene with little industry, support many other aspiring bands look up to them.

Their celebrity fans also include the likes of Shaun Ryder, Mani from The Stone Roses, Mike Joyce from The Smiths and Clint Boon.

Aaron said: “Some bands will find an easier path than we did – they might sign a major deal or raise their exposure through support tours with big acts.

“But we’ve shown what can happen if you graft away at it over the years, keep writing decent tunes and promote yourself on social media.

“One opportunity leads to another. Our big break was supporting James.

“Bands just need to concentrate on what they do at their lives shows and make it exciting for people.

“As long as those elements are in place then it should work out.”

Due to coronavirus outbreak, their next gig might not be for a while though.

When Weekend spoke to Aaron he was due to play at Parr Hall on April 9. They have vowed to return with a new date yet to be confirmed.

The band was particularly looking forward to it as in their early days they cut their teeth in Warrington at Friars Court.

They even shared that tiny but well loved stage with Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Aaron added: “They were really good gigs. The promoters involved were great because it was at a time when there weren’t many places for bands like us to perform.

“It was the pre-Neighbourhood days when there wasn’t a great deal of festivals going on.

“As for Parr Hall, that’s been on our radar since the Stone Roses did their surprise comeback show there.

“The Manchester band James also played there a couple of years ago so we’re looking forward to following in their footsteps.”

Aaron and his brother Kurtis were inspired to get into music by their dad Earl.

“He had a guitar and would do DJ sets and jam with the guy next door,” said Aaron.

“He was into Elvis, Bowie, Bob Dylan and the Beatles and my mum Beverley was into Motown.

“That was always around and I could sing from when I was very little.

“Then when you’re in your teens and 20s you’re passionate about putting your views in the world and music was a great outlet for that.”