REVIEW: Slaves @ O2 Academy (15.12.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The last time Slaves played the o2 academy in Newcastle, they were the second act on the bill for the 2015 NME tour. Now, they’re here to headline, after originally being set to play Northumbria University back in November.

The show was recently jeopardised after drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman dislocated his shoulder whilst crowdsurfing during their recent show in Norwich, forcing them to cancel and reschedule some of the tour. Luckily for us, a swift recovery was made.

Normally, I tend to steer away from bands that often have the “best live act” label slapped on them seemingly far too frequently, a label banded around from those who have seen the Kent-based pair recently. But after this show, it’s fair to say that Slaves fully deserve it.

We sadly missed opening act Rhythm Method due to a public transport delay, but we arrive in time to catch the last half of second act Ho99o9 (Horror).

It’s refreshing to see the crowd raring to go for the support act, with quite a turbulent atmosphere already forming amongst the crowd. The hardcore punk/ rap trio seem fitting to rile the audience up for the main act. Their final song sees the ground stir into such a frenzy that I found myself on the ground by the end of it.

I manage to recover by the time Slaves take to the stage, and it’s probably a good job I did. The majority of the standing section of the venue is already dancing before the band even show any signs of starting. Shutdown by Skepta is played, before the band take to the stage of the amazing atrocity that is We Like To Party by the Vengaboys. The opening bars of the song, as well as indicating the start of Slaves set, appears to flick some sort of switch in the crowd’s collective head as the room erupts into utter madness. It was the first and (hopefully) last time that music from the Vengaboys has managed to give me shivers.

Slaves began their set with White Knuckle Ride, the title of which is indicative to how the rest of their show will pan out. The majority of their debut album Are You Satisfied? is played, as well as including none-album tracks including the much-loved Where’s Your Car Debbie?

It’s hard to pinpoint any particular highlights of Slaves’ set. The crowd is constantly dancing, jostling, and generally flinging themselves at each other, and every single song feels like it should be a set-closing anthem.  Penultimate song Are You Satisfied? sees an impressive move from guitarist Laurie Vincent, who dons an acoustic guitar and, with a little help from security and the audience, stands upon the crowd to play.

Actual set-closer Hey is one of the bands more menacing songs, and is a perfect way for one final outburst of energy from a now-exhausted crowd.

This riotous finale fades away to a playback of a Boyz II Men song. An encore is hinted at, and repeatedly chanted for, the most I’ve ever seen at a gig at that, but to no avail. An air of disappointment is now lingering, but it’s nothing compared to the sheer delight that Slaves’ live show brings about.

The day after the show, it transpires that Holman dislocated his shoulder once again… Whilst dancing to their Vengaboys opening number. Powering through the show with such an injury just goes to show how dedicated this duo are to performing, and making sure their audiences have a hell of a good time watching them do so. Were we satisfied? Definitely.

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