- Lauren Joyce
Slaves - O2 Academy 19th November 2016
In a sea of fishnets, Fred Perry’s, braces and flatcaps, the crowd huddled together in the queue outside the O2. With a name like ‘Slaves’ this band is undoubtedly making a statement and despite the bitter November cold, the fans were here to aesthetically make theirs.
Waiting in line to the loud lairy booze-fuelled warcry of the fans chanting ‘Where’s your car Debbie?!’, it was apparent that this gig was going to be messy, sweaty and as raw as the lyrics Slaves’ spit.
The main support slot on the bill were Life, this loud audacious post-punk four piece from hull brought the right quantities of sassiness, attitude and energy that quickly whipped up the crowd into a state of vitality. Front man Mez Green’s drone of dulcet tones combined with the swing of his gyrating hips left Life’s stage presence dripping in sex-appeal, something I’ve never witnessed from the post-punk genre. Charismatic yet unpredictable in parts, Life’s vigorous performance of tracks such as ‘Rare Boots’, ‘Go Go Go’ and ‘Popular music’ set a precedent for the adrenaline rushed night ahead.
After a short interlude, the sultry red lights dimmed and it was time for Slaves to take to the stage. As thestage lights came up and the raucous riff of ‘Hey’ kicked in, an influx of fresh-faced teens started weaving their way through the crowd to the center. The crowd opened up as pints of lager began catapulting above our heads, veteran punk rockers and amateurs alike initiated the circle pit formation. As the waves of the crowd crashed from side to side it was a humbling sight to watch people being quickly picked up off the Tuborg flooded floor, dusted off and ready to dance once more.
Slaves’ undoubtedly gritty and dynamic performance managed to grip every member of such a diverse audience. Playing well-known tracks, ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Cheer Up London’ - the latter of which proved Slaves’ popularity with the whole crowd roaring along to the chorus. The power and energy Isaac expresses through his drumming and vocal delivery on the likes of, ‘White knuckle ride’ and ‘Spit It Out’ - combinedwith the slick licks of Laurie’s guitar on tracks such as ‘Angelica’ and ‘Steer Clear’ made a long lasting impression.Slaves’ bromantic and charismatic stage presence kept us totally engaged throughout the gig, despite only being a two-piece, these lads from Kent managed to get the whole venue rocking along to their punchy melodies.
The setlist really proved to be a mixed bag teaming together the punchy comical skits of Isaac chanting ‘Fuck the Hi-hat’ and ‘Girl Fight’ saw the crowd breaking out into rapid moshpits across the floor. Crass may have said that punk is dead, but if you get yourself to a Slaves’ gig, you will see that it’s alive and kicking.
Words - Lauren Joyce
Pictures - Marc Osborne