‘Drive your car into the sea…lock your doors and think about me!’ Isaac screeches into the mic, the band having finally put 2012 classic ‘Suicide’ back onto their set list. Deafening, heavy, and hard-core killer pits…just your typical Slaves gig. The roaring fire and energy of their set was immense, completely ripping the O2 Forum Shepherd’s Bush to pieces. The gig really showcased the best of our working class punk-grime sound, and Isaac and Laurie are the ones leading this revival.
The gig opened with first support band Mummy who, similar to bands like Pizzatramp, False Heads, Calva Louise and Wonk Unit, are a crazy heavy punk rock band. The four piece are from London, and are fronted by hard-core killer vocalist Charlie Elliott; what I loved the most about their set was the heaviness and gritty dirty punk rock sound they had. Rather than the punk sound Slaves have, Mummy are a lot heavier with really intense guitar sounds and heavy aggressive drumming. I’ve known the band for a while now, but didn’t expect their set to be as heavy or powerful as it was. Tracks like Bed For Good (which the band introduced to the crowd as Bedford with Charlie cheekily enquiring if anyone was actually from Bedford), Busy Doing Nothing, and Money Sponge (all from the band’s MILK EP) were unbelievably good; the rigour and roughness of their music was mind-blowing, and just showcased what heavy DIY punk music should be like. My favourite track they did was Hey, which is a blistering heavy track which ripped through the venue. The build-up in the verses and start of the chorus escalates up and up, hitting this colossal drop with the guitar and drums smashing in sync. It was thrilling, tough punk rock, fantastically showcasing the best of London’s punk scene.
Next up to play were messy grungy four piece Black Honey, who I’ve been a huge fan of since seeing them support Catfish and The Bottlemen earlier on this year. They have this brilliantly stylish fashionable edge to them, and their music could accompany a desert cowboy film or Tarantino movie. Straight out of a 50s flick or bright 80s pop music video, there’s a very glamorous vintage feel to them, with a messy raw rock undertone to their tracks. It was weird seeing them play such a huge venue, as they have a very cool underground edge to them, but they performed meticulously. Izzy is an unreal vocalist with a crazy vocal range, especially her high pitched wails on Spinning Wheel and the melancholy brooding tones on Corrine. The band have a vibrant sense of unity and friendship which is clear on stage, and all four members look like they’d stepped out of a 50s desert glamour-cowboy film; their set list was brilliantly put together, including tracks such as On Your Time, All My Pride, Bloodlust and Teenager. Their fashionable aura and artistic edge isn’t the only thing that excites and transfixes their audience; the music is simply unbelievable. Izzy’s vocals are matched by really heavy distorted guitar from Chris and Tommy, backed up by Tom who is incredibly skilled on drums. Each little riff they played was so well rehearsed and sounded so good echoing around such a huge venue. They’re unique and exciting, and a crazy fresh burst of something which is a much needed addition to the rock scene; and given the success of their set, it won’t be long until the band are headlining venues of this capacity themselves.
And then for Slaves. I’ve seen the band many times now at various festivals and London venues, and last week was my sixth time seeing them live. The last time I caught them was September 21st at The Horn St Albans as part of their ‘Back In The Van’ tour, and a lot has changed since then. The band have released new album Take Control, and tracks off this Are You Satisfied? follow up made up most of their set list. The set list had been put together brilliantly, with an array of tracks from their entire discography. For me, the best performances were of their earlier tracks from the Sugar Coated Bitter Truth EP, such as Girl Fight, Suicide, and White Knuckle Ride. They also played some tracks off their debut, having finally put fan favourite Feed The Mantary onto the set list. Where’s Your Car Debbie? was incredible too, with the crowd moshing to literally every track. I’m not too keen on Take Control (the album) in all honesty; some tracks I adore, others I’m not too keen on, so some parts of the gig were a little bit strange, like seeing Isaac and Laurie play tracks like Angelica and Steer Clear which didn’t really click for me. But their fun, messy DIY edge shone through with their humours skits, and intense killer performances of Rich Man, Consume Or Be Consumed, Play Dead and Same Again. Hey, The Hunter and Spit It Out (which they finished with) went down crazily well too, with Isaac’s blaring raspy punk vocals being the perfect accompaniment to Laurie’s heavy deafening guitar. To see him play Suicide and Sockets was unreal too, as both tracks showcase just how immensely skilled and talented Laurie is. Their infectious energy and thrilling stage presence captivated the audience too, with fans loving every second of the show. The only thing I wish had been a bit different was the crowd, who were more about the violence and aggression of the mosh pit rather than enjoying the music and respecting and helping other audience members, something Isaac and Laurie promote at their shows.
Having seen them at such a tiny venue a couple of month ago, and catching their Reading secret set on BBC Introducing’s stage, I do wish the band could stay that small underground punk band forever; but the deafening power and intensity and unique nature of the band can only see them getting bigger.
Gig rating: ★★★★☆
You can listen to the band’s set list on the go here: