As part of their ‘Back in the Van’ UK Tour, I was gifted the opportunity to see one of the biggest bands in the world at a sold out 170 capacity venue; for what I can only describe, as one of the most surreal experiences of my life. As soon as I had the go ahead to be at the gig from the head promoter at The Horn, Luke Hinton, I grabbed the next 301 bus outside my house and ventured with a shaking body to my favourite venue this side of London.
On my way to the venue, I had a listen at their new track ‘Consume Or Be Consumed’ featuring Beastie Boys Mike D. A slow and aggressive shoegaze meets punk track with some awesome rap all rolled into one. The song has a Bad Manners and Madness meets hard punk vibe that we can all get behind. It is to be later featured on their up and coming second studio album ‘Take Control’.
As I arrived at The Horn and said my hello’s, I grabbed a beer and some fries and had a sit down. Without even realising, Issac and Laurie were just chilling by the bar. I know they are human beings and that, but it was just so very strange. I’m sitting and chilling in the same bar as SLAVES. I mean, it’s not like they’ve just headlined Reading and Leeds. No biggie…
Estrons have been a huge part of the ‘Back In The Van’ Tour as special guests supports for the entire listings of shows. If you haven’t heard of Estrons before, they are a formidable four piece hard rock band hailing from Cardiff and boy did they put on a show. Their forceful garage/hard rock combination was both loud and incredibly exciting to listen to. If you aren’t a fan of Estrons already, go and check them out live!
After a very enthusiastic performance to set the mood for Slaves, you could literally cut the electricity with a knife. I have never been surrounded by a group of lads act like such big fan girls. I was probably the worst. But still. It was the calm before the storm. As soon as Slaves arrived on stage and single slap on that little drum of Issac’s commenced; complete and utter chaos ensued. Is it bad that I’ve never been in a mosh before? As an up and coming music journalist, you’d think I’d be well up for scrapping elbows with my fellow music lovers. Nope. I’m not a fan of unnecessary violence. It stresses me out. But there was something about being at a SLAVES gig that turned me into just another body to collide with. I only lasted about five minutes and a 50 year old geezer broke my glasses. But it’s all good. Apparently its all part of the “experience”.
Slaves played a number of their classic tunes including ‘Cheer up London’, Sockets and finishing up with ‘The Hunter’. We also got to listen to ‘Consume Or Be Consumed’, ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘People That You Meet’ in full. Issac and Laurie are incredible performers. They have so much charisma between them. They can tell stories, command the crowd, be funny on the spot and even tell hecklers to fuck off. Why you’d even heckle Slaves in the first place is beyond me.
The crowd were exceptional. Not only did the mosh show respect to the more experienced of human beings (I mean old people) They were all experienced gig-goers, passionate about music, either being in a band themselves or working their way up in the industry. I had the pleasure of chatting with a lot of nice dudes. A rarity in this day and age.
Honorable mentions: The guys in their school uniform that won the raffle. You are the luckiest people I have ever met. I genuinely hope you all had a great time!