Sweaty and Hot, Slaves Hit the Spot
As the train pulled into Dover, we strutted onto the platform with a far-from-sober swagger. Doc Martens shining in the hot July sun and that familiar pre-show excitement. We almost accepted being lost as we walked down a little road just in front of the marina towards what looked, from the outside, like the sort of village hall that normally accommodated Cub Scout meetings and 10-year-old birthday parties. Tonight, however, there was not a woggle or Panda Pop in sight. In truth, The Booking Hall is a prime, small, independent venue tucked away on the Dover coast with friendly staff and reasonably-priced drinks. Suitably intoxicated, we waited amongst the fellow Kentish folk for Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent of the punk duo Slaves to make their entrance. After what seemed like an eternity the lights dimmed and the boys made their entrance to ‘Non, Je ne regrette rien’ armed with a large Invicta flag. We were in business.
What followed over the next hour and a half was an eclectic set from Slaves, with a mixture of new tracks from their soon-to-be-released album ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ and their 2015 album ‘Are You Satisfied?’. Highlights included the classic ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ and their 15-second seizure of a song ‘Girl Fight’. The build-up to which involved the lads sitting us round in a circle to recount a story of how Isaac stumbled upon said girl fight after a night out in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Think of it like a preparatory jackanory, as we all waited patiently for the humid hysteria that was about to be unleashed. As the set went on, the temperature rose and mosh pits deteriorated into sexy, sweaty slip and slides.
In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure if it was the booze or the heat but at the time I didn’t take much notice of their newest release ‘Chokehold’. Looking back, I was an idiot for not doing so. What an absolute banger. Its catchier than Chlamydia and anthemic as fuck. If you haven’t heard it already I suggest you do so immediately. Think along the lines of ‘Song 2’ by Blur, ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ by The Hives and ‘Bohemian Like You’ by The Dandy Warhols and you’re in the right sort of area. I wouldn’t describe it as ‘softer’ than earlier Slaves work but certainly less aggressive and more palatable without losing any of the depth from Holman’s lyrics. He poetically describes the vulnerability from being parred off by someone you love, this accompanying Vincent’s simple yet genius guitar work and ‘Chokehold’ is nothing short of a modern classic.
All in all, Slaves’ intimate set in Dover was one to remember for all the right reasons. Hearing Slaves in such an intimate venue is something of a rarity nowadays, having seen them bring such a large crowd for their headline slot at 2000 trees festival last year. In addition to this, being given the chance to hear some new tracks and have a brief chat with Holman and Vincent after their set was a real pleasure and I can’t wait to hear the full album. Thank you boys, just keep doing you.