Into Music Reviews: Slaves at Glasgow Barrowland

Slaves at Glasgow Barrowland, 8 November 2018

Picture the scene: You are 35, you lived through the mid-to-late nineties and early noughties, and experienced all that came with it… Great music, some truly cheesy dance music, and a perceived political shift in New Labour. You now live in a disillusioned society, the country’s politics are more divided than ever, and there is a sea of music now at your fingertips.

You have just watched a fantastic support band in Lady Bird, they are like The Streets but angry. They point at a number of things in modern society that people deal with, and take them head on in a whirlwind of Hammond organ, furious drumming and a guitar player that is a tall, skinny Zebedee.

Now the venue builds in excitement and, whilst the hard-working crew are setting up, a playlist of the cheesiest of late-nineties dance music plays. All the kids (teenagers, I felt the oldest I have ever felt) are loving it, they are high with excitement and every single one of them is Snapchatting and doing Fortnite dances. It was surreal.

Then bang, the Vengaboys’ We Like to Party rings out as the house lights go down, the kids are on cloud nine. After the first verse, two shadows appear, the music cuts out, and, like an Anthony Joshua punch to the face, they launch into their mainstay opener Sockets.

The mood changes, the “pit” is a sea of bodies, there are pints everywhere and some unsuspecting of the dancing kids vacate the area, shocked and stunned.

From then on in it is utterly relentless. Isaac Holman smashing the drums with every fibre of his being, Laurie Vincent swinging around the stage straining the PA with aggressive riffs. New songs slot into the setlist with ease, continuing the trend of commentating on society’s faults including the selfie/Instagram/Snapchat crew, lying politicians and generations being let down.

Not even a hand injury sustained during the violent drumming stops Isaac from giving it his absolute all. This band are quite obviously on a charge, they mean business. They are one of a number of bands at the moment that are making angry music that is full of statement, and, for the entirety of the set, I am on board and believe that this music could spearhead a movement. When the final chord of The Hunter is played I am fuelled with the message and ready.

The house lights go up and the Barrowlands is a sweaty mess. I hope some of the youngsters have been energised by what they have been witness to, however, the selfies and Fortnite dances return. A surreal irony.

Slaves were incredible, they deserve your attention. I am off to Google how to floss.

Stephen Harley

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