The Slackers – O2 Academy, Islington

By Andy

It seems fitting that a band like The Slackers can reach 20 years in the music business. With a catalogue of recordings that has never forsaken quality and a live show that on no occasion disappoints, the New York outfit is the best out there. It?s no surprise then to find Punktastic out on the town celebrating this 20 year anniversary tonight.

Tonight? Well, this afternoon. The early stage time means that THE EXPOSED?s set is pretty much done with as we arrive. Thank you, friendly corporate venue. Warm-up duties are therefore left to DIRTY REVOLUTION [4/5], another band that Punktastic is more than familiar with. Tonight the Cardiff quintet?s set is slick and tight. A three-in-a-row presentation of new tunes mid-set overshadows staple tunes such as ?50p? and ?I Love Reggae? suggesting that the future is looking upbeat. Bring it on.

THE SLACKERS [5/5] play their twentieth year of songs exactly as they have the 19 previous; a well-stocked set featuring fan favourites, dusty gems, and a heap of audience requests. This ?Supper Time Set? (as christened by saxophonist, Dave Hillyard) mixes up the haste of ska, the mellowness of reggae, and the ease of rocksteady, all into one aurally delightful, double-celebratory (it?s also bassist, Marcus Geard?s birthday) sonic treat.

So what?s on offer in this particular party-bag? You can check-off the likes of ?Watch This?, ?What Went Wrong?, ?Feed My Girl? and ?Run Away?. There are admirable tributes to band influences, Lloyd Knibb (The Skatalites) and Glen Adams (The Upsetters), both of whom passed away recently. Add in curiosities like ?Rider? and a cover of The Misfits? ?Attitude? and you go some way to getting the vibe; standard Slackers fare.


The band are onstage for nearly two hours, and that?s not enough. Not for the near capacity crowd, nor the six men on stage. It?s a testament to The Slackers? quality. How many other bands out there would you listen to for this long? Ultimately, when the show does come to an end it?s a triumphant one. 20 years down the line and this bunch of middle-aged guys are still kicking it better that the young ones. ?NYC?s finest purveyors of Jamaican rock ?n? roll? may be a tag, but it?s a well-fitting one. Here?s to another two decades of The Slackers.