Live Review... Slaves @ The Leadmill, February 19th

You’ve got to give it to Slaves. Not only have they managed to make it to the first night of the tour, when other band on the bill, The Amazing Snakeheads have just dropped out, but they’ve come prepared. They claim they don’t have pre-show plans but armed with a fridge full of ham sandwiches and clenching packets of monster munch, they’re ready for war. 

A giant mantaray lurks behind Slaves as they open the NME Awards Tour 2015.
It’s down to them to get the NME Awards Tour 2015 kicked off with ‘White Knuckle Ride’, the catalyst for the first spews of beer. In between erratic marching, vocalist and stand alone drummer, Isaac Holman, asks the audience what their favourite type of biscuit is but there’s little time to answer as he scrunches his face up once more and batters the skins whilst Laurie Vincent shouts, ‘anyone for a garibaldi?’

Not taking themselves too seriously could be the key to success. Holman is shy yet mischievous off stage, but once in front of a crowd it’s his chance to confront everything that’s ever pissed him off, including ‘Debbie’ in ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’, which he says is of a story of searching for her car with a Sasquatch in hot pursuit. When joined in by Vincent’s vocals, there’s shards of The Clash flying about, but the duo claim they’re not trying to sound like anyone, although not even the most acute hearing can draw comparisons to anything from Sex Pistols punk to American garage rock. 

The street poetry tales continue from a shirtless Holman, who turns the ‘Yorkshire’ chants into ‘Feed The Mantaray’ when a roadie joins them onstage dressed as a giant mantaray. It’s all of a sudden turned very Shooting Stars as if Vic Reeves is shredding guitar as Bob Mortimer spits ludicrous venom. The light hearted story telling turns ferocious and politically charged in ‘The Hunter’, as opening lines, ‘the people are freezing and the water is warm, and the ice caps are melting what will happen when they’re gone?’ gather momentum and there’s a riot building in front of Vincent who peers through the mist. Moments later Holman finds himself amongst this mass as he leaps in during the breakdown of ‘Hey’, using them as a human towel to dry every beed of sweat he’s exuded over a short but savage set.