In the magnificent splendour of the 1935 Art Deco master piece, The De La Warr Pavillion at Bexhill On Sea, Slaves took to the stage on this their third leg of a major U.K tour. It was practically a home coming gig; Slaves having decamped from their Royal Tunbridge Wells home to travel the thirty miles South to the East Sussex coast. The packed crowd, of surprisingly wide ranging ages, had probably all travelled further but however they'd got there it was to be a journey well worth the effort as they were definitely not going to be disappointment.
Slaves were clearly up for a good night, having recently returned from Europe it "was nice to be back with you lovely people". From the opening bars of the first track Slaves were energised to give it their all letting up only occasionally for a little respite. Mixing tracks from 'Are You Satisfied' and 'Take Control' the boys tore up the auditorium with track after incendiary track. 'Hey' started to build a terrific head of momentum before a rousing version of the anthemic 'Rich Man'. Where the gig exploded with more energy than the Hadron Collider however was when crowd pleaser, 'Sockets', was aired with such raw, impassioned, brutal fervour and frenzy that it electrified all before them.
Laurie and Isaac played hard and fast all night, like Killing Joke on steroids they did more than just evoke memories of past Punk triumphs they rewrote the brief. Through 'Same Again', an amusingly pre-ambled and thunderous take on 'Debbie Where's Your Car, 'STD's/PHD's' and a truly unbelievable 'Take Control' the Kent duo took the venue apart. It was a mesmerising performance that quite literally took your breath away; it was tiring just to watch the pair in action. There was only the briefest of let ups to draw breathe as Laurie flailed and spiralled around stage whilst Isaac insanely pounded the living daylights out of the drums.
Slaves slowed the pace briefly as they asked, "Let's have a sing-a-long shall we?" before the chords of 'Angelica' struck up, but, the unrelenting, unforgiving battery of high octane, high speed delights were soon restored with the briefest of the nights tracks, 'F**k The Hi Hat'. 'Are You Satisfied' set up a super charged 'Cheer Up London' before a fantastic, penultimate closer, 'The Hunter'. Slaves second album opener, and final encore, 'Spit It Out', rounded off the night in perfect style; demented whirling dervishes unleashing sublime controlled chaos.
Slaves live is a must see event at the moment, they are unequivocally brilliant, an unmissable band at the top of their game playing out gigs that are mind blowingly charged from start to end. The sheer amount of energy unleashed at this gig was remarkable and to hone it so effectively into such a tight performance is nothing short of amazing. If there's any tickets available at a gig near you, I'd urge you to snap them up.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.