Sometimes a band comes along and you just have to listen. Slaves slapped me around the face demanding my attention when I watching the coverage of their eye watering, blistering paced set at Glastonbury 2015. I was transfixed as I watched two blokes giving it all on stage, one beating a set of drums to death and the other thrashing the hell out of a guitar. They were raucous, energetic and the best thing I’d heard all evening.
How could two men make such skin crawlingly good music and make such a racket. I wondered if they had the gift of electronic wizardry to help boost the sound, but this wasn’t the case. What you hear is a raw, live, musically talented pair without any trickery, just their talent.
I don’t like to try and push music into a genre as I usually get it wrong, most bands don’t like to be tagged as this or that and what does it matter anyway? To me, they have the energy of early punk bands with bang on lyrics, and an early mod style with a slightly skinhead danger feel when they play live…….see I told you I was rubbish at this!
Slaves are a duo which formed in 2012. The two members are Laurie Vincent (guitar, bass, vocals) from Maidstone, Kent, and Isaac Holman (drums and vocals) from Royal Tunbridge Wells. Sugar Coated Bitter Truth was their first release in 2012, which was an EP.
Their first single “Where’s Your Car Debbie?”, was released by Fonthill Records in early 2014. After this they signed to Virgin EMI and released a single, “Hey”, followed closely by “The Hunter”. Also in 2014, they appeard on Later….with Jools Holland and in 2015 they were nominated for BBC’s Sound of 2015. Their debut album Are you Satisified? was released in June 2015 and it’s absolutely amazing, but then again I’m a fan so I’m bound to say that!
SLAVES – MANCHESTER RITZ – 16 JANUARY 2015
I’d been excited about this gig for ages, after I’d bought the CD I knew I wanted to see them live, well that’s a lie, I wanted to see them after the Glasto performance.
I had to wait longer than anticipated as they postponed the gig which should have been in November, due to Issac having an unfortunate shoulder injury. So this is why I found myself on a cold Friday night in January at the Ritz, Manchester, waiting for the fun to begin.
By the time Isaac and Laurie took to the stage to the sounds of We Like to Party by the Vengaboys, the walls and pillars of this knackered old venue were dripping with condensation….teenage sweat from the moshers in the crowd down below. I’d chosen to perch along the balcony to get the best view and try and take some photographs.
Kicking off, (quite literally in the over excited crowd) with Ninety Nine, followed by Like An Animal, it was clear that boys were going to give us something special and the people below me were going crazy. It’s a long time since I’ve seen crowd surfing in such quantities and I don’t think I’ve ever seen practically the whole place joining in a skinhead type barging session…..perhaps someone could enlighten me with the correct term, I’m too old to know these things.
Watching down over everyone was a wonderful experience, a mixture of young, old and somewhere in between were just lost in music and the sweat poured down the walls in greater quantities.
Things go more frenzied when Sockets started up and that seemed to be the catalyst for more mayhem in the crowd. Where’s your car Debbie? led to the stonkingly good crowd rousing, Do Something and Cheer Up London, everyone in the place singing ‘You’re dead already, dead, dead already.’ By this time I was fearing for Isaac who looked absolutely knackered. He might be a lean, mean drumming machine but Christ that must take it out of you, playing like Satan himself every night.
I’ve said it earlier on but the musicianship and craftsmanship of both these men shouldn’t be underestimated. Laurie worked his way through a variety of guitars, his playing magnificent for each and every track the sound coming out of them working wonders with the hardcore drumming of his sweaty, bare-chested partner in crime.
We had The Hunter, White Knuckle Ride and In Dog Years Your Dead and Are You Satisfied, all received with the same rapture as the opening tracks, until at the end Isaac lay on the floor, a knackered, possibly kilo’s lighter than when he started. The pair embraced at the end, Manchester applauded and left, much better for the release of tension and entertainment bestowed upon us.
Did they do an encore? Did they balls, they could barely stand!
Thank you Slaves, my only regret?…… I didn’t get to buy a T-Shirt!