Slaves At The Academy – Review
A Mercury-nominated debut album, an appearance on Jools, and a backstage spat with Sleaford Mods at Glastonbury – it’s been an eventful 2015 for Tunbridge Wells duo Slaves. Are You Satisfied is an angry record, a social commentary on England’s woes, littered with sketches of suburban life. Musically closer to the garage punk blues of White Stripes, the songs are built around guitarist Laurie Vincent’s muscular riffs which pull off the neat trick of sounding similar and different at the same time.
Whilst not sold out, Dublin’s Academy is pretty full, with a healthy mix of indie kids, hipsters and old punks, the latter a testament to Slaves’ authenticity which has been the subject of some question of late. Bang on 9:30pm, Iggy’s ‘Passenger’ fades out and a red shirted Isaac Holman takes his place upright behind his sparse drumkit. ‘Ninety Nine’ and ‘White Knuckle Ride’ whizz past, the moshpit is hopping, and if there was a DeLorean here, the energy in the room could probably send it back to 1977 to pick up Sid. Not that even a dodgy bass player is required, as the drums and guitar setup manages to forge a beefy sound that more instruments would struggle to create. As Vincent switches guitars, the now barechested Holman regales the crowd with a story about Debbie, who got a lift home off the band and promptly disappeared. Pleasantries are short and sweet but they mercifully allow us to draw breath. The biggest response of the night is saved for ‘Cheer Up London’, Vincent deliberating on the riff before it explodes into life. And then, an acoustic guitar. The horror is short-lived however, and with the stage now drowned in red light like a vision of hell, a final call to arms, as traditional set closer ‘Hey’ sees both Holman and Vincent crowd surf before sending this Academy crowd out into the balmy November night. ‘Dublin, you’ve been …. perfect’ smiles Holman.
Not that we want things to be too perfect. One hopes that Slaves remain pissed off with modern life as it fuels their lyrics and the fireball energy of their live shows. Tonight, we were satisfied.