LIVE: Slaves @ O2 Empire, Shepherds Bush

By Christopher Lee

2016 has been a huge year for Slaves, not only have they released their critically acclaimed second album which reached the top 10 in the UK but they’ve also embarked on their biggest tour to date which has seen them blast through city after city across the country. Tonight is the first of two shows at the famous Shepherds Bush Empire which will bring the tour to a close and the atmosphere is absolutely electric.

The punk duo from Kent bring a sort of raw energy to the show which is few and far between and has quickly gained them accolades from many in the industry and an army of fans. There’s a huge roar as the band take to the stage which almost threatens to raise the roof before they’ve even played a note. They waste no time at all launching into ‘Sockets’ as the crowd are immediately start bouncing. “Good evening London Town” exclaims Isaac who is very quickly topless. This is followed by ‘Play Dead’ and ‘Same Again’ the second of which causes chaos on the floor with mosh pits opening up everywhere.

Isaac then welcomes on stage their mate Joel who helped write ‘People That You Meet’ to play drums on the track. This is followed by ‘Deaspair and Traffic’ and ‘Suicide’ by this time the floor is sea of moving energy and constant madness. Isaac even points out that the show is a sell out “You lot are squashed in like sardines!” he says. He then explains that the next one goes out to a girl called Debbie which of course was ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ up next is ‘STD’s/PHD’s’ which Laurie plays the keyboard on as he is “what we call in the industry a multi instrumentalist” explains Isaac.

At the end of yet another blistering track Isaac addresses the crowd who are absolutely buzzing “We are what you would call a two piece band, a rock partnership. We wanted to be a full band and we had big ambitions but no friends” who burst into laughter. “When we were playing to one man and his dog people would shout at us ‘where’s your bassist?” he continues before they power through ‘Fuck The Hi-Hat’

The ferociousness of the set is just an onslaught with track after track feeding the crowds hunger for more. They smash through tracks such as ‘Consume or be Consumed’, ‘Take Control’ and ‘Girl Fight’ and by the time we get to the infectious ‘Cheer Up London’ in which it seems to be raining a beer  Isaac screams “I fucking love you!” at the crowd. They close out the set with a trio of ‘Feed The Mantaray’, ‘Are You Satisfied?’ which kickstarts a huge moshpit in the middle of the floor and ‘The Hunter’ as Isaac takes a moment to “Big up the security” for their stellar work this evening.

The band exit the stage leaving the crowd to their own devices and to take a breather from what has been a mammoth set but that doesn’t stop the inevitable chants of “One more song!” and someone somewhere decides to start singing ‘Last Christmas’ which infectiously catches on and the entire crowd join in. Which forces the guys back on stage and Isaac exclaims “It’s still f**king November ya weirdos!”

The encore consists of ‘Lies’, ‘White Knuckle Ride’ and the band finish the night off as Isaac tells the crowd “This is our last one, We’re Slaves. Be Lucky! With a monstrous rendition of ‘Spit It Out’ which has everyone on their feet and bouncing. If Royal Blood are the benchmark for British two pieces then Slaves are the opposite, a raw powerhouse of endless energy intent on conquering all in their path with their own brand of punk that transcends age and resonates with all. Let’s hope we get to see more of these guys in 2017.