Words by Billy Beale
Slaves’ rise to prominence has been nothing short of meteoric. One minute they are opening shows for veteran two-piece Blood Red Shoes, next they are featured all over Radio 1 and have a top 10 Mercury-nominated album. Not bad for two guys with half a drum kit and a lot of guitar amps.
This year sees a new album release (Take Control, released back on 30th September) and a string of shows across the country, many of which are sold out. Slaves have become notorious for their high-energy live shows that wind crowds into a frenzy, stage antics that are impressive feats of athleticism and crowd surfs that can dislocate shoulders. One such incident back in 2015 took one of drummer Isaac’s arms out of action.
Since their first major release – 2015’s Are You Satisfied? – Slaves’ schedule has been non-stop touring, acclaimed festival appearances (home and abroad, including a secret set at Reading) and even an exhibition for guitarist Laurie Vincent’s artwork during the Edinburgh Fringe.
Called ‘Disillusioned’, the show featured his bold, childlike take on contemporary social and political issues. It’s not unlike Slaves’ music, which is primal and raw, yet focused on the circumstances in broader society. The cover art for Take Control is some of Laurie’s work and is an obvious nod to the balaclavas worn by the musical and political Russian protest group Pussy Riot.
How they found the time this past year to write another album, secure Beastie Boy Mike D as producer, and get in the studio to record it is a mystery. But record one they have, with new material getting the live racket treatment on their current tour, including new singles ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘People That You Meet’.
‘Spit It Out’ – Slaves
For more on Slaves, visit www.youareallslaves.com
For more on Life, visit www.lifeband.co.uk
For more on Shame, visit www.facebook.com/shamebanduk
For more from the O2 Academy (B’ham), visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham
For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs & Tours, including full events listings & online tickets sales, visit www.gigsandtours.com