It was a Saturday night, in a questionable venue, the Blackwood Miners Institute. For those of you who don’t know the Stute, its rooms are the size of four of your bedrooms, as you can imagine, not very big. It’s notorious for its side splitting pantos, but there are never any significant performances played there- at least I don’t think there are. So I found out Slaves were playing there and I couldn’t believe it due to the locations remoteness.
It turns out they were playing as part of Velvet Coalmines festival, in which this year the theme was ‘punk-rock’. I was surprised to see that along with Henry’s Funeral Shoe and Don Letts DJ set, Glen Matlock was amongst the headliners, GLEN MATLOCK IN THE VALLEYS?! and for a bargain of £13.50, what could possibly go wrong?
We got in late, and thought we’d missed Glen himself, but later found out that he hadn’t shown up…strange. Henry’s funeral shoe was enjoyable, the local Ystrad band rocked out to some of their best songs amongst their many albums. The band finished and prompted a wide gap that we burst down to get to the barrier, we were there.
For about ten minutes we chilled out to some deep reggae, a bit strange considering Slaves were about to stage and we knew we’d be far from ‘chilled’. The duo had their symbolic name wheeled on to the back of the floor, and we knew what was coming.
And so two jaws flew on stage, with Laurie and Isaac following close, and the pair jumped straight into their ritual of greeting the crowd with wide eyes and wide mouths and I was enticed from the very first moment. They played almost all of their songs from the album “Are You Satisfied”, with a few unreleased tracks such as “In dog years, you’re dead”, I’m not sure if this is the title of the song, but those words were screamed at least a hundred times, and to be fair it doesn’t take a genius to work it out.
The night flew by and it was the first concert I actually sweated through my shirt at-result! To the normal by-stander that has never heard Slaves, it’s fair to say you’d be pretty scared going to one of their gigs. Mid way through ‘ninety-nine’, I felt a heavy grip of dampness on my neck, only to look down and find five stump like fingers sprawled out, gripping on for dear life. I turned to find a middle aged man, possibly lost in some sort of K-hole, projecting his jaw across the stute room. My first reaction was to take his hand off me, and as I did he fell back into the sweaty abyss, never to be seen again…
The gig was thoroughly enjoyable and it ended with Laurie and Isaac actually coming out onto the main floor after many people had left, which was an added bonus. It is crazy how just a week before Slaves had played in Reading Fests NME tent, attracting a crowd of over a thousand, but now found themselves entertaining about fifty people, but I guess that’s the beauty of it.
Slaves truly killed it, rocking the whole room, despite the numbers. It just goes to show how influential they’re becoming and will for sure become one of Britain’s best two pieces by the end of next year. There wasn’t a fault to the performance and the boys still remain amongst the top of my favourite rockers. I will definitely be seeing them again, and did see them again in November at Cardiff, and a flashback review will be coming shortly.
I’ve included a link for what I believe to be Henry’s Funeral Shoe’s best song purely because of the killer guitar towards the end, along with links for Glen Matlock, a mix at Coachella from Dj Don Letts and Slaves’ most recent video ‘Sockets’, I hope you enjoy.