Punk Duo Slaves Stop Off in Nottingham to Play an Infectious Set at a Sold-out Rock City.
Slaves brought the roof off as they played their first sold out show on the Acts Of Fear and Love Tour.
Distinctly British humour and wit combine with heavy guitar riffs and anthemic choruses to create the signature sound of the two-piece, who create an obscene amount of noise for just two people on stage.
For this gig, however, they float in and out of being a two, three and four-piece, as two members of support band Lady Bird help out the boys on drums due to problems with vocalist and drummer Isaac Hayes’ wrist. But the injury doesn't hold him back, allowing him to parade the stage topless, interacting with the crowd at every second, urging people to keep their phones in their pockets.
They open with Shutdown, an infamous cover of the track by grime legend Skepta, which they performed on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge (and with the man himself at BBC’s Big Weekend) - before they run through tracks from their three albums – all of which have cracked the top 10 of the UK charts.
Holman is just as much an honest storyteller as he is a wild performer up on stage, first evident with the perfectly titled F*** the Hi-Hat which kicks off the nights on stage antics. He tells the story of when the band first started out, nobody else wanted to join and so they were left without a proper drummer. “We got the same f****** questions, night after night, time after time, where’s the hi-hat? You know what I say to those people?” he says, before chucking the hi-hat to back of the stage and crashing into the song with furious energy. At which point I know I’m in for an eventful night.
Every song gauges provokes a massive reaction from the diverse crowd, as both young and old enjoy the dazzling show in front of them, with the latter mainly sticking to the balcony as the young tumble around in pint throwing, sweat filled mosh pits.
The biggest reactions come from The Hunter, Where’s Your Car Debbie?, Chokehold and Girl Fight (for which, Holman goes into the middle of the crowd) but the strongest comes from one of their biggest hits Cheer Up London, a cynical analysis of modern Britain and all its misery, from 2015’s debut Are You Satisfied?.
Each song gets a huge amount of love and is met with intense enthusiasm - but Slaves can still slow things down for a tick - the acoustic guitar is pulled out for a rendition of 2015’s Are You Satisified? and returns later with Photo Opportunity. These rare, stripped back moments provide the crowd with pleasant, swaying singalongs, but also demonstrate Slaves ability for clever song writing and social commentary.
Socially conscious lyrics and strong vocals tie with brimming attitude and confidence to form an electric energy on stage, providing Slaves with a potent, ear ringing live set certain to satisfy anyone who attends. British swagger at its finest.
Tickets for the rest of their tour can be found here.