Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
March 6th, 2019
Supports: Dead Sea
“Put your feet up, you’re looking unwell…..”
Pretty much describes my head, neck and back this morning following a relentless set from UK’s Slaves overnight. The two-piece punk rock band are known for their energetic performances but after finally seeing them live I can attest that these guys are definitely NOT TO BE MISSED at the upcoming Download legs in Melbourne and Sydney this coming weekend. Big riff, English accent, pounding drums, chorus, repeat. If you haven’t heard Slaves prior, think Royal Blood crossed with a conglomerate of old school UK punk bands from the 70s and 80s. They have attitude, but you can tell they love the stage and their crowd and Perth’s Amplifier lapped it up despite a pretty average turn out.
First up however were local three-piece band, Dead Sea. The grungiest sound I’ve heard in these parts since the 90s, however when a heavy dose is required the lads buckle down with a mix of fuzz and distortion. Their single, ‘Antimatter‘ is very cool, an almost Silverchair dose of melody and the guys ploughed through a short set with more than a few heads nodding in appreciation. A local crew to look out for in the future.
Slaves hit the stage to a surge in the crowd, drummer, Isaac Holman already with shirt off displaying an ample 6 pack amongst a chiselled pec area, more than likely half due to his manic performance as a stand up drummer. Yes, if you haven’t seen or heard Slaves perform, the drummer stands and plays and sings. He’s quite the magician. His offsider, Laurie Vincent, the flash tattoo buffet on guitar lends his backing vocals and distorted sounds to the enemble. The relentless ball of energy these guys hurl from the stage is incredible. Holman bops up and down like the enegergiser bunny and Vincent flays his guitar in all manner, jumping on amps and stereos throughout. They may just be a duo but wow, these guys entertain. They kick off with ‘The Lives They Wish They Had‘ from 2018’s album, Acts of Fear and Love. An anthem already amongst the Slaves faithful and quickly follow-up with the single, ‘Magnolia‘, Holmon in his cockney accent quizzing the audience, “Did you know 65% of UK homes contain at least one magnolia wall”? The crowd yelling back, “I, bet you didn’t”. Another playful song, a melodic punk gem that bops around in your head for days after hearing it.
From there Slaves get heavier, with ‘Live Like an Animal‘ and ‘Bugs‘ but not before Holman drowns his face and sweaty torso with a few bottles of water. Seriously, this guy is super fit. It’s like watching a Zumba session on drums. Into another anthem, ‘Cheer Up London‘ with Vincent wandering into the crowd, still attached to the amp with his chord and taking out a few unsuspecting punters in the process. ‘Where’s Your Car, Debbie?‘, provides a little storytelling moment from Holman, mid mosh pit before they launch into the track and it’s not until latest single, ‘Photo Opportunity‘ that the crowd and Slaves have a little breather as Holman serenades the crowd, albeit in that jovial punkish cockney accent way.
‘Chokehold‘, yet another single that already I annoyingly can’t remove from my head due to its melodic chorus and riff is a highlight. Track, ‘Beauty Quest‘ from 2015’s, Are You Satisfied?, provides, probably the funniest moment of the night with Holman heading to the bar, literally behind the bar, requesting a pint of lager before scaling the bar itself. Closer, ‘The Hunter‘ is ruthless and a great ending to a barrage of punk goodness. It was quick, to the point and left all there in awe (Editor – that’s what she said) of the duo to make a room move. No need for an encore, this is a punk band after all. Unfortunately no dance off with a running of ‘Cut and Run‘, but you couldn’t complain. Without doubt, one of the MUST SEE bands of the upcoming Download Festival, they play early, so don’t miss them. Seriously I cannot reiterate enough to not miss this band. The last band I had a similar feeling about on a festival was 1996 with Rancid and how they turn out?
The Lives They Wish They Had
Live Like an Animal
Cheer Up London
Feed the Mantaray
Where’s Your Car Debbie?
Sugar Coated Bitter Truth
Review by Jim ‘Plugga’ Birkin
Slaves – Download Festival Sideshows
March 7th @ The Brightside, Brisbane
Download Festival 2019
March 9th – Download, Sydney
March 11th – Download, Melbourne