Before we get onto the headline act we need to talk about support act ‘Lady Birds’ The debut band on any record label needs to be a big statement and Slaves have made a BIG statement with Lady Bird. Playing on the duo’s record label Girl Fight, the band already look destined for big things.
Full of energy, the post-punk band get what is already a near full house moshing. It’s obvious they have built up their own fan base already. Head banging to rival anyone, they don’t take themselves too seriously and are well worth watching on their tour at Soup Kitchen on April 4th – it will go off.
I’ve heard that as Slaves have grown in popularity the fan base has evolved into a crowd comprising of screaming teenage girls. Not tonight, a mixture of young and old with many of the families bringing multiple generations.
The younger members are doc wearing, merch-rocking skinheads who look up for a tear up at any point and not the pop vibe I expected. Before the boys enter the stage their trademark playlist of Noughties dance classic comes on and it’s quite the spectacle from the Academy balcony, 2500 people doing the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ in unison, brilliant!
The Tunbridge Wells boys get the welcome they deserve when they take to the stage and repay the fans with the immortal words.
‘Manchester! Has anyone been to the Academy while its been….SHUT DOWN?!’
Their cover of Skepta from BBC Live Lounge is a true rarity – only pulled out for the big occasions. The bar has been set. One thing that’s noticeable from tonight’s gig is the popularity of the old and the new tracks, the lads bounce between their first album and latest albums with ‘Sockets’, ‘Bugs’ and ‘Magnolia’. The latter their latest release.
‘DID YOU KNOW, THAT 65 PERCENT OF ALL UK HOMES CONTAIN AT LEAST ONE MAGNOLIA WALL’
The boys have developed something of a cult following over the last few years, and rightfully so they’ve done everything right coming up. Playing pubs to 3 people and touring as hard as they could until the venues began to grow. Laurie’s riffs are simple and instantly recognisable – as soon as he starts playing everyone sings along.
Slaves are bringing back punk-pop. The noise they generate from a 2 piece is baffling, still at the 5th time of watching them. Issac strides up and down the stage and tells the tale of why Slaves are only 2 with a short intro to track ‘F#ck the Hi Hat’.
‘Why are there only two people in your band? Because there was only two people who wanted to be in our f#cking band!’ Why don’t you two have a bassist? Because we don’t want a f#cking Bassist!’ Where’s your Hi-hat? F#CK THE HI HAT!’
‘F#ck the Hi-hat’ ‘F#ck the Hi Hat’ ‘F#ck the Hi-Hat’
A few more crowd favourites including previous album title track ‘Are You Satisfied’ and first release ‘Where’s your Car Debbie’ followed by their latest release ‘Cut and Run’. The dance moves in this video have become famous amongst the fans, it’s well known that they get people on stage to perform the dance.
When the music kicks in its obvious one lucky applicant is well out of his depth and is swiftly booted off the stage, very disappointing. Alternatively, the other lucky fan smashes the dance move for move and makes the most of his 5 minutes of fame.
We are getting toward the finale but time for a bit more drama as the lads spot some trouble at the front and both cut what they’re doing instantly “We don’t have that going on at our gigs” the culprits are very quickly swiftly evicted.
For this tour the lads have brought back by popular demand ‘Feed the Mantaray’ minus the crowd surfing, ukulele playing, merch selling Mantaray from times of old.
The lads dont do an encore instead opting to play through. ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Truth’ and ‘Beauty Quest’ are the penultimate tracks leading into ‘The Hunter’. One of their first releases and still their most recognised song to date.
Slaves keep going from strength-to-strength and their following keeps growing, who knows how big this 2 man show can get. Headline festival slot imminent.
Shutdown (Skepta cover)
Live Like an Animal
Fuck the Hi-Hat
Cheer Up London
The Lives They Wish They Had
Are You Satisfied?
Where’s Your Car Debbie?
Cut and Run
Feed the Mantaray
Sugar Coated Bitter Truth