Slaves @ Zanzibar

Words: Vicky Camidge

Slaves are famous for their unapologetic attitude, brash lyrics and wild, sweat-drenched live shows. Imagine our excitement then at the announcement that they were to play The Zanzibar Club in Liverpool on 20th October, kicking off Shortlist’s 48 Hours To… series; the first in a series of completely free live music performances from 4 of the most in-demand acts of 2016 at 4 different locations across the country.

The opportunity to see Slaves for free in a small and more intimate venue like The Zanzibar was just too good an opportunity to miss. The rowdy two-piece, consisting of Laurie Vincent (Guitar/Vocals) and Isaac Holman (Drums/Vocals), have recently released their second album ‘Take Control’ after the success of their 2015 debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’ and are about to embark on the European leg of their tour.

Considering there are only two of them, Slaves managed to fill the Zanzibar with an electric energy. When playing some of the most popular tracks from their first album such as ‘Sockets’ and ‘Cheer Up London’, the crowd roared along to their realistic and relatable tales of life in England – Slaves excel with lyrics that reflect personal observations of British public transport, terrible drivers, and those daily insecurities.

Musically, Slaves are a talented duo. Rarely do we see a lead singer who also plays the drums and a lead guitar player who doesn’t act as the lead singer. In switching it up, Slaves are pushing boundaries in the world of British punk music. Isaac somehow manages to pull off playing drums and having a forceful presence as the front man in an effortless manner, rolling around the stage and interacting with the audience in between songs, even if it is occasionally to shout “Put your phone away dick ‘ed!”

Their performance at Zanzibar gave them the opportunity to play tracks from their second album to many of their Liverpool fans for the first time. And they didn’t disappoint. Slaves wouldn’t be Slaves without some satirical playful tunes, but it was when they played ‘Rich Man’ that the evolution of their song writing was revealed. More politically minded lyrics focussing on inequality in modern society proved that they mean business, albeit with their trademark light hearted twist.

Several times during the show I found myself laughing, particularly at the minutes-long monologue delivered by Isaac in run up to the 15-second long song ‘Girl Fight’. How can you not crack a smile at a lyric such as “I’m not gonna get too close/My shoes are new and my shirt is white”?

Their entire performance is feel-good and never at any point in the show did the mood dampen, but it was during their last song ‘The Hunter’ that the crowd seemed most  euphoric; screaming along, soaked in sweat, bopping around and constantly bashing into each other in larger-than-average and pretty-terrifyingly-mad mosh pits.

Slaves have recreated a genre. They’ve taken traditional punk and added their own satirical and uniquely British twist. The vivaciousness of their live shows is an experience fans won’t want to miss out on. That, coupled with their catchy and relatable lyrics, means they’re definitely a band to watch over the next few years. Their live show was an exhilarating and all round entertaining experience; next time they’re back in Liverpool we’ll definitely be checking them out again.


Featured Image from SJM Concert Promotions

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