Off the back of the release of their third album, Slaves crash into Manchester half way through their Acts of Fear and Love tour. Known as one of the UK’s most ferocious live acts it’s no surprise that Slaves have brought their signature blend of energy, sharp wit and even sharper guitar riffs.
The energy in the air was palpable, as a heaving crowd armed with pints gathered underneath the dim lights of Manchester Academy. Excited chatter and 90’s anthems filled the venue as the swarm of people patiently waited for the band to walk on stage, creating a surprisingly gentle and happy atmosphere, although the euphoric anarchy of what was to come was no doubt in the back of everyone’s mind.
Any doubts that Slaves weren’t going to deliver their powerful and energetic re-imagining of post punk were quickly ‘shutdown’ as drummer/singer Isaac Holman burst onto stage to riotous applause and launched into a cover of the hit Skepta song, alongside bandmate Laurie Vincent. Isaac was quick to inform the crowd why there was only two of them, simply stating: “no one else wanted to join, so fuck em.”
The crowd echoed the bands energy, screaming the lyrics back louder than the band themselves and with ferocious energy the duo launched into Sockets a riotous and chaotic anthem, opening up mosh pits across the crowd, electrifying energy, sweat and beer in the air. Tearing through their 3 album and multiple EP repertoire with obvious delight, fans were quick to open up pits and fill the venue with noise as the duo cranked out a number of fan favourites such as Bugs, Lies and Cheer Up London (or cheer up Manchester as it was aptly renamed for the night.) The ‘two-piece boyband from Kent’ burned through their songs in quick succession barely giving time for the audience to breathe. Clearly feeling the love in the room, Isaac and Laurie offered a brief respite when they invited the crowd to hug the person next to them. Sweaty embraces over, the lights flashed and drums pounded the bands way to their concluding song The Hunter, with the entire crowd collapsing into a jumping, shouting sea of bodies.
Slaves hold a reputation as one of the UK’s best live bands and from watching this performance it’s easy to see why, their fans are as energetic as the band and amidst all the thrown lager and mosh pits, it’s no doubt that there is something very special about the way how the two act on stage, from Isaac’s powerful drumming, his witty southern snarl and Laurie’s knack for bitingly sharp riffs, the pairs energy is undeniable and there is a real sense of rebellion in their music. Anyone who is quick to dismiss them as ‘just noise’ clearly hasn’t experienced them live, and needs to cheer up, after all it’s really really not that bad.
Photography by Zack Hough