Slaves at Leeds Festival 2016
I wrote a piece on Red Hot Chili Peppers at Leeds, as they were the band I primarily bought my ticket for.
I wanted to see Skindred, but we missed most of their set due to getting there late, and Parkway Drive were on my list but pulled out for family reasons.
This didn't leave me with a great deal of variety in my day, but we hung around the main stage and decided to watch Slaves. I'd heard of them before, and vaguely knew a track or two, but I really didn't know a great deal about them at all.
Happy to say - those chaps absolutely blew me away!
So, when two southerners rocked up on stage - one a topless angry-looking boke, and the other sporting a smart jacket, docs, and chequered trousers - I wasn't sure what to expect to be honest. When the cheeky looking topless fellow began yelling down the mic and banging his drum kit, and the other kicked his legs out and rocked around the stage with his guitar, I didn't quite know how to react.
There was something immediately endearing about the Kentish duo as they thrashed out a definitively simply but effective old school punk rock sound though.
To say they're only a two-piece, they get thick enough levels through their music. Punk rock has never needed anything fancy, so a guy thrashing out his cockney vocals on the mic with access to a bass drum and a floor tom (I think that's what it was) for each of his arms (no foot pedals - he was a standing drummer!) was definitely good enough.
A topless guy yelling at a mic and banging his arms down rhythmically at 160 BPM is oddly captivating as well.
Punk rock guitar doesn't need anything fancy at all - I assume he had an array of pedals to flesh out the sound, and he definitely had an octave pedal or two for the bass sound to be incorporated.
For those of you not familiar with an octave pedal, they're absolute top drawer when you get a professional one. It emulates the sound you're playing in either a higher or lower octave, so if you play a six-string and switch on a lower octave on the pedal, it can sound like a bass guitar is following the rhythm. I use one for my bass in my three-piece covers band for a higher octave to fill out the sound, and the likes of other short-numbered outfits such as Royal Blood are known for using them too.
Anyway, back to the gig...
So, yeah, they were bleeding southern English style with their music, and put on an entertaining show with plenty of interesting crowd interactions. I always love it when a band show their personality when playing live, and you can clearly see these two chaps love thrashing out their punk on stage, and they came across as a pair of proper nice 'geezers' as well. Sound-wise, punk is not at the top of my favoured sub-genres, but I absolutely loved their fast-paced and simple songs that had a definite feel of the Sex Pistols to it.
I'm happy to say that off the back of that set I'm definitely a fan, and I'll be investing in their stuff and seeing them again should the opportunity arise. I recommend you see them, especially if you're like me who, as stated earlier, isn't a hard-core lover of punk rock per se, but is partial to the occasional serving of it. If you are, don't pre-judge them as something you won't like. I'm confident enough to vouch for them and say you'll probably end up with a whisky-warm feeling inside having been exposed to their music.
Well done chaps - reviving old school sounding punk is definitely the way to keep it alive. I normally can't stand the new-age kiddy-punk-pop crap that too many American bands are spouting through the charts these days (won't name any names!)
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