• James Fawdon

Slaves at the LCR 15/11/2018 - Review

After the release of their third album, Acts of Fear and Love, Kent duo, Slaves, play to a sold-out crowd at Norwich’s LCR.

The show is opened by the rapidly rising artist, Willie J Healey. Healey possesses a very ‘in’ sound – lo-fi, melancholic pop, with clear nods to the styles of Elliott Smith and Mac Demarco. He delivers a half an hour set, which appears to be well received by the crowd, who slowly bob along to his sultry and laidback beats. This gentle start to the show helps create a building sense of anticipation and makes for a much-needed to contrast to the heavier Lady Bird and Slaves. Unlike many supports I see, I’ll definitely be listening to Healey again.

For those not familiar with the second support, Lady Bird have been called “Slaves’ new favourite band”. The fellow Tunbridge Wells locals and first signing on Slaves’ recently launched label, Girl Fight Records, have a sound that bears few distinguishing features from that of Slaves. Despite the unoriginality of their sound, Lady Bird deliver a strong set, effectively working the crowd into a frenzy. They, like Slaves, play with no bass player, but their performance did include the welcome addition of a Hammond organ.

Finally, after half an hour of cringe-inducing noughties pop classics playing over the speakers, the band take to the stage to the soundtrack of Vengaboys’ ‘We Like To Party’. The band open with ‘Sockets’, instantly setting the tone of the show and inciting a hectic reaction from the crowd. The energy of the crowd only grows stronger as the show goes on, enhanced by the unmistakable stage persona of the duo.

Slaves’ material from their new album goes down just as well as their most popular first album singles like ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘The Hunter’. A particular highlight was ‘Cut And Run’, for which two lucky fans were invited on stage to perform the dance routine from the song’s video. Even after six years or so as a staple of the UK’s indie A-list, the band have not lost their appeal, despite very little progression in their sound across the three albums they have released to date.

The band, made up of Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent, have cited influences such as The Clash and Rancid – influences that appear obvious from even a superficial sweep of the band’s three album catalogue. Apathy and anger are displayed both through their lyrical themes of political disaffection and hedonism, and through the punky and powerful musical settings. This appeals to both a young, teenage following and aged fans of the punk bands that have influenced Slaves. This was apparent at this show, with the lowered dancefloor of the LCR being occupied by a largely teenage crowd – and the raised areas being occupied by a crowd largely the age of their parents.

The band close with ‘The Hunter’ – their most well-known song. Following which a stream of sweat-soaked, smiling adolescents file out of the venue. Slaves continue to impress with energetic and consistent live shows but I do wonder how what their shelf life is – only time will tell. Despite this, they currently show no signs of decline.

#slaves #music #gigreview

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