Myself and around 170 others witnessed what I still consider to be one of the most exciting gigs I’ve ever been to (thestinger.org.uk/allgiggedout).
A reminder, if one were ever needed, of the value of small local venues, and the fact that you just never know where the acts you see at those venues may end up one day.
So I ventured a few miles along the coast to the De la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Thursday evening to see how far the guys had come over those intervening couple of years, and also wondering whether they could transfer that atmosphere and excitement to a larger venue.
In a word the answer to that question is, ‘Yes’.
This was the first date of the UK leg of what the band said was their biggest tour to date.
It seemed rather appropriate that it took place in Bexhill, a town not very far from their adopted home of Royal Tunbridge Wells, a place they mentioned several times during the evening. It was almost like a local gig for them.
Playing a mix of tracks from both their debut ‘Are You Satisfied’ and the recently released ‘Take Control’, Slaves were soon into their stride delivering as energetic a performance as you’re likely to see anywhere.
With music steeped in the era of Punk Rock and with a stage presence to match, Slaves certainly know how to whip an audience into a frenzy, and tonight was no exception.
The near sell out crowd were soon moshing like a good ‘un, and drummer Isaac’s t.shirt was soon discarded as the sweat started to flow.
Glow sticks, items of clothing and empty plastic glasses were soon being thrown, good naturedly, over the heads of those near the stage.
As my companion said to me, “for a duo Slaves sure do make a lot of noise” (in a good way), and this was surely one of the loudest gigs ever to hit the De La Warr Pavilion.
But it’s that mix of Slaves’ ‘noise’ and energy that transfers so well to the audience and makes their gigs what they are, something to put a smile on your face.
They fairly raced through songs such as ‘Hey’, ‘Sockets’ and ‘Hypnotised’, a track getting serious radio airplay at the moment.
The fans seemed to know the words to all songs, and were singing along with gusto, arms aloft.
The pace of the show only dropped a few notches when drummer Isaac switched to playing bass guitar for a couple of songs, drum backing tracks were introduced, and Laurie discarded his guitar for a small keyboard.
Order was soon restored though with ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie’, complete with the story behind the song, ‘Cheer Up London’, ‘Fuck The Hi-Hat’, ‘Take Control’ and ‘The Hunter’.
The relatively brief set and encore of just over an hour ended with ‘Spit It Out’.
Even though I heard some mumblings about the exclusion of ‘Feed the Mantaray’ I don’t think anyone went home disappointed.
I think it’s fair to say that Slaves are one of the most exciting live bands around at the moment, and this evening certainly confirmed that.
Another great aspect of this evening was seeing so many young people, some with their parents, probably having their first experience of a ‘real’ up close and personal gig, and thoroughly embracing that initiation into just how enjoyable, exhilarating and downright exciting a gig at a relatively small venue can be.
There really is nothing like it is there?
Hopefully this gig will have inspired many of those young fans to seek out similar gigs in the future, both locally and further afield.
And for that the De La Warr Pavilion and Slaves should be congratulated.
Find Slaves here: youareallslaves.com