LIVE: Slaves @ The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne

By David Burd

Amidst the constant mumblings of distaste regarding their name, Slaves have stepped into the limelight these last five months or so. With a nomination into the BBC Music Sound of 2015 shortlist and a performance on Later with Jooles Holland, the duo really are proving that punk can be successful in today’s mainstream.

On Monday night I was treated to a brutal full force performance from Isaac and Laurie, otherwise known as Slaves at Newcastle’s Cluny. It’s a long way from home for the two boys from Kent and the last time they ventured to this particular spot their set was cut short by a very pedantic BBC producer at the Radio 6 Music Festival. On this occasion however they were allowed to play to the end.

I’ve rarely seen The Cluny sold out before but the mix of old and young fans absolutely packed the small room, a real testament to the tireless work put in by the band. The lights go dim, the crowed cheers and over the PA comes Isaac singing “This is what I do when I’ve got nothing to do. I shine my shoe with a dirty vest”, in my mind one of the more interesting choices for walk on music. As soon as they step onto the stage they storm into ‘White Knuckle Ride’ with huge amounts of energy.

Little known fact is that Slaves aren’t only a punk rock band, they also spend a section of each gig surveying the audience to find out the nations favourite kind of biscuit which in Newcastle appears to be the chocolate digestive. After performing their latest single ‘Cheer up London’ to the loudest chorus of the night so far, Isaac regales the audience with the story of how a big foot was seen near his home town. Anybody who’s seen Slaves play before will know that this is the cue for fan favourite ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’

“It’s always the manta ray” remarks front man and drummer Isaac, “what a silly, silly stupid song”. This was of course after a man in a full manta ray costume joined them on stage for the entirety of ‘Feed the Manta Ray’. It’s this sense of fun and utter, utter ridiculousness which I feel endears Slaves to the audience. I mean seriously, at what point when you’re coming up with a live show do you think “this is good, but I can’t help feel like it’s missing some sort of aquatic dance number”.

Anyway, I digress. After not being allowed to perform their final song ‘Hey’ while playing at the 6 music festival I was delighted when I finally got to hear it. With the gritty fast paced opening riff evolving into the crashing cymbals a hot and sweaty audience give it their all. To bring the night to a close the two exhausted but giddy band members on the stage hurl themselves into the mass below, something which is known to music buffs as a “stage-dive”. Really hope they’ve put this much energy and fun into their upcoming album ‘Are You Satisfied?’.