Slaves @ O2 Academy, Liverpool 16/11/18

On Friday night, sold out O2 Academy witnessed the Slaves live experience. It was no surprise that the 1,200 capacity Liverpool venue was packed to the rafters as the Kent duo are about as mainstream as UK punk bands get nowadays.

From their 2015 breakthrough with debut album ‘Are You Satisfied?‘ to their strong follow-up ‘Take Control‘ released just a year later, they built a large fan base through several nationwide tours, big festival appearances and some fans at Radio 1.

The whole room was heaving long before Slaves’ fellow Kent natives and label-mates Lady Bird left the stage. When the headliners emerged in front of a neon sign reading the band’s name, you could tell immediately they meant business. With drummer and vocalist Isaac already bare-chested, they wasted no time, hurtling straight into the frenetic ‘Sockets‘.

There was plenty to choose from in a varied set that was a grand total of 17 tracks in length. It was a chance to hear some songs from the recently released third album ‘Acts of Fear and Love‘ for the first time for some fans, while a couple from the Slaves back catalogue such as the 2014 track ‘Beauty Quest‘ went down a treat.

I was massively impressed by the energy from the pair the two times I had seen them live previous to Friday night, once in Scotland at T in the Park and once at Manchester‘s Albert Hall two years ago. I was glad to see nothing has changed with these boys as guitarist Laurie clambers on top of the speakers and Isaac relentlessly hammers his drum kit and screams his lyrics until he is literally drenched in sweat. “Look at my trousers, I’m soaked through” he mutters into the mic during a momentary breather.

Not only the performance deserve praise, but so does Slaves’ audience interaction that is such an important part of their live shows. From their little anecdotes about how their songs were written and starting the now customary chant of ‘f**k the hi-hat!’ and even encouraging everyone to hug the person next to them because it’s ‘all about the love’.

The reception for new singles ‘Magnolia‘ and ‘Chokehold‘ were brilliant and Slaves obviously fed off the crowd’s enthusiasm. The album Acts of Fear and Love has been well-received in general and if the rest of the tour lives up to the standards set in Liverpool, I can’t imagine that being any different.

Fuck the Hi-Hat
Live Like an Animal
Cheer Up London
The Lives They Wish They Had
Are You Satisfied?
Where’s Your Car Debbie?
Cut and Run
Photo Opportunity
Feed the Mantaray
Sugar Coated Bitter Truth
Beauty Quest
The Hunter