The announcement of much adored two-piece, Slaves, playing a spontaneous gig at a 350 capacity venue sparked a lot of confusion and euphoria amongst their fans. Managing to get tickets to their show at the 100 Club for the very same evening had me buzzing for the entire day, but the wall of realisation that I was actually attending this iconic gig did not sink in until the band emerged on stage that night; but even now, I am still in slight shock that I witnessed such a class performance in such an intimate setting.
Approaching the venue for the first time and seeing a dingy, corridor with a red ‘100 Club’ sign on the door, made me question why a band that are playing the Main Stage at Reading later this year, and who sold out Brixton Academy, would play at a venue renowned for giving up and coming artists their first break. The mystery circling amongst ticket holders for the gig also confirmed the inevitable magic that was in store for us.
After meeting friends and collecting tickets from the Box Office, time soon came for support act, Estrons, to take the stage. It took a while for the crowd to get on the same energy level as lead singer, Taliesyn Källström, but by their last song everyone was moving along to their rock sound. I was very impressed with Estrons’ performance; they had a great stage presence and chemistry within the band.
9:30pm (the time Slaves’ set was due to start) was near approaching. The venue swarmed with people and the atmosphere was so tense: no one knew what to expect. Despite being a measly 5″3 , surrounded by tall, broad lads obstructing my view, I knew Isaac and Laurie had entered the stage when the room erupted into tumultuous cheers and screams. As soon as the rhythmic opening riff to ‘White Knuckle Ride’ pierced through the venue, the mosh pits came alive like no other I had seen before. I remember jostling through jumping bodies as we all screamed the iconic lyrics “I love you more when you’re angry with me, because you’re so boring when you’re nice”. The atmosphere was just insane from the first moment, and the energy did not drop at any point.
The band followed their opener with newly released track ‘Spit It Out’. Despite the crowd being least familiar with the song, it did not hinder us from moshing and dancing to Isaac’s contagious drum beats and Laurie’s catchy riffs. ‘Suicide’, ‘Like an animal’ and ‘Sockets’ all had the same heightened vibe, and maintained the same excitement that had been racing through everyone all evening. What I found impressive was how Slaves managed to uphold the intense British Punk meets harsh garage sound without changing the dynamic at all; a real art form to encapsulate an audience to the point of no returns.
The announcement of their next track ‘Take Control’ made the crowd go wild, as it was the first official news of a new album from the Kent duo- and we all know a new album means a tour. It possessed the same stripped back punk rock flavours as your typically adored Slaves track, making you let go, jumping and screaming.
“Can we give a big fuck you to Brexit”
That was enough to make us go wild. Riotous shouts and curses absorbed the venue and I forgot I was at a gig rather than a political rally.
Familiarity was restored with ‘Do Something’ and ‘Cheer up London’. The charismatic lyrics were delivered like a dream from the duo; encouraging the crowd to single every word. Strangers grabbed strangers and spat the moody lo-fi punk complaints into each other’s faces, meeting the energy levels of Isaac and Laurie perfectly.
I crowd surfed on and off throughout the gig (because I fell into the minority of small, young females), but nothing could compare to when ‘Where’s your car Debbie?’ began. Just as Slaves had approached the opening verse of the song, those supporting my body as it hovered over the crowd, directed it towards the stage, where I tumbled uncontrollably over all the plug sockets necessary to the boys’ set. They stopped. Laurie mumbled something about his guitar being unplugged and laughed at me. I had never been more embarrassed in my life as I turned to the other 349 Slaves fans and apologised for being an utter liability. Luckily everyone had a sense of humour and laughed and cheered as the boys restarted the track, and I jumped back into the crowd.
Of course their most popular song ‘The Huntar’ closed their set. The haunting opening riff followed by the well appraised lyrics consumed us. It was a though we were transported somewhere where it was only us and the music in existence; the feeling you get when a gig has utterly blown your mind and the idea of the end is a foreboding concept. The lights came up and I was suddenly breathless, weak, exhausted and awestruck, as the high everyone got off the gig itself had worn off and we were back in the real world.
I know it is a cliché, but Slaves at the 100 Club holds the placement of the best and sweatiest gig I have ever attended. Walking out of the venue, on the train home and as I lay in bed that night, I was still in awe at how incredible Slaves were, and how blessed I felt to be a part of such a magical night. The boys said themselves that it was the most important gig of their career so far, but it’s only the beginning. Slaves possess this special sound that is equally as complex and enthralling as it is raw and simple. Not only is their music utter genius, but the boys are so humble and have excellent stage presence. I am buzzing for the new album, due to be released in September 2016, and the tour that is bound to follow it.