I think it would be fair to say that Slaves were the sound of Summer. They were at almost every festival including Truck Festival, Camp Bestival and Reading. Their debut album, released in May, was all I was playing all day, every day. After a rather long Winter waiting for this gig, it’s fair to say my expectations were high and I was ready for a crazy night.
Watching the dribbles of fans making their way to the venue there were a couple of die hard fans who jumped out. One in particular had scrawled across her forehead the title of Slaves' debut album, “Are You Satisfied?” and you could see her physically shaking with excitement. The vibe was set. Fan girls are awesome.
Within 45 minutes of the doors opening, the first support act, Spring King, were on the stage. The four-piece clicked immediately as soon as they started playing and they managed to brilliantly warm up the crowd! I’ve never been to a gig before where the moshing started with the first song of the first act but Spring King achieved it
Wonk Unit were second up and they were amazing. It’s rare that you go to a gig and love the support act as much as the headliners that you paid to see, but Wonk Unit definitely made an impression on everyone in the room. There music has been described as the future of punk rock and if that’s true it is going to be a good future. Every song was relatable and distinguishable and the set itself was high energy from start to end. A fan today me after their set that they were “slightly cringey, but in the best way”. I guess that’s what happens when you have a song about you nan that “pisses with the door open”, as Alex put it.
The stage was cleared. A child’s play mat, the type that looks like a town with roads for toy cars, was laid down for the drum kit and the light’s went down. The room was almost pitch black and everyone was going a little crazy. Then through the smoke and camera flashes, two silhouettes appeared and the crashing sounds of “Ninety-Nine” came blasting into the room.
Slaves' set was explosive. Despite having dislocated his shoulder at every show for the last 3 days, the drummer, Isaac, gave his absolute everything and didn’t hold back.
From “Ninety-Nine” they went into “Animals” and continued with other songs such as: “This is Life”, “Sockets”, “Where’s Your Car, Debbie?”, “Cheer Up London”, and of course “Are You Satisfied?”, before coming to a close with “Hey”.
“Are You Satisfied?” is probably the song that stands out most from the whole set. Isaac takes a break from the drums and roams around freely, finding a nice spot sitting up on the speakers, while Laurie plays on an acoustic guitar. The slower vibes of the didn’t stop the mosh pits going mental and everyone was shouting along with the words to the song.
The one thing that makes Slaves stand out from so many bands is their evident love for their fans. Standing on the stage Laurie, singer & guitarist, and Isaac thanked the crowd repeatedly for coming and at many different points in the show Isaac came off stage to cuddle the fans at the front, high-five anyone he could reach and hand the mic around to share the love.
The night definitely lived up to my high expectations of the band and with two amazing support acts the crowd was in the perfect mood before Isaac and Laurie even hit the stage. There was something about the fans at the gig that I haven't really encountered many times before. Everyone was looking out for each other. If someone fell over, the next person would pick them up before they got trampled. If someone was feeling squished or claustrophobic, everyone around helped to get them through to security.
There was not one person leaving the venue last night that didn’t have an ear-to-ear grin on their sweaty faces.
TOP PICTURE CREDIT: Kane Howie Photography