Slaves // Live Review

Madame JoJo’s – January 14th


“Welcome to the rock show”, Laurie Vincent, guitar in hand, sneers as Slaves take to the stage. His venomous introduction carries more weight than he could have anticipated, as the support bands that have preceded the duo have left us underwhelmed, to say the least.

Broken DC stumbled through a setlist of unremarkable fare, while Boneyards, despite boasting bucket loads of potential on record, put in a disastrous turn, flashes of brilliance dwarfed by a frontman with unfounded arrogance and neither the tunes, nor the stage presence to back it up.

As Laurie and Isaac Holman, responsible for the pair’s percussion and throaty vocals, step into view, we are under no illusions; Slaves are here to crack skulls. ‘White Knuckle Ride’, then, seems to be a fitting introduction, talk of anarchy and disorder appearing rather relevant in the stifling surroundings of Madame JoJo’s, while ‘She Grew Old’ is suitably brash, the duo’s call and response bark emulated by a feverish crowd. ‘Girl Fight’ is when Slaves really hit their stride, however; the pair reveling in Isaac’s sauntering, spoken-word anecdote (mostly concerned with his preference of kebab), and its detonation of full-blooded aggression, and the mass of writhing limbs that it prompts amongst onlookers, is a delight to witness.

It’s rowdy, and certainly not clever, and the duo’s lack of frills is noticeable, if only for how much fun you feel that you should or shouldn’t be having. Lyrics are clunky, of course, but there’s no time to ponder how trivial the location of Debbie’s vehicle is, (on the stomping ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’), as you scream yourself hoarse.

Despite the show’s somewhat basic structure, it is fair to say that the two-piece champion a chaotic strain of twenty first century punk that is rare. Swerving the familiar mire of bullshit and pretension, their frantically brief clutch of songs leave you feeling bruised and comfortingly fragile, much like a decent rock show should do. Don’t be surprised to see Slaves sound tracking a brawl near you soon.