They blew away their competition at the NME Awards Tour in this very city recently, and yet again, given their own space to create their unmitigated fury, they excel. They are one of the bands to watch this year.
Date: May 14, 2015
Venue: Rescue Rooms
Slaves really are a ruthless aural assault on the senses; a sonic boom of bile-spitting fury and ferocious disharmony which pulverises the solar plexus. Not bad, considering they consist only of two Kent ‘ladz’, drumming singer Isaac Holman and axe wielding maniac Laurie Vincent.
There’s a simplicity to them. Man beats drum, screams down a mic; other man throttles a guitar. But it resonates to so many, and on so many levels.
The angry, perturbed opener, White Knuckle Ride, sets the tone. Amidst chugging guitars and smashed percussion, it’s savage. Merciless you might say.
They both don red t-shirts amidst a backdrop of intense retina-squelching lighting, their name in 3ft lettering.
Isaac plays the loveable rogue; a southern softie at heart, far removed from his band’s vicious output. He’s charming, funny, but with a devilish Kentish brogue.
Take Where’s Your Car Debbie, a now shirtless Isaac (nothing new) talks of being scared that a Sasquatch was roaming his home town of Tunbridge Wells, before unleashing the Ramones-flecked dumbass punk volley of a song.
New single Cheer Up London sounds like The Clash urging Londoners to stop being so miserable, whilst Feed The Mantaray is, in Isaac’s own words, “stupid”. It’s a screeching, chaotic punk anthem complete with a Bez-like Mantaray who stage dives to much joy.
The Hunter, with its ominous, malevolent underbelly of bass and vocal explosions should be the highlight, being their most well- known and most-loved song. But despite its deliciously feral noise, it’s quickly overshadowed by set closer Hey, which sees both Isaac and Laurie crowd surfing as echoic reverb swells the room.
Its chaos provides a stunning ending to a monumental performance from a band that are going stella. Slaves? Nah, these guys are free to rule the alternative zeitgeist, just like the Big Foot of Tunbridge Wells.