More infectious than even the most debauched of Friday nights, Getintothis’ Vicky Pea couldn’t help but be impressed by some of the most exemplary crowd surfing of recent times.
Firstly, thank the bookers this took place in February as a mid summer booking would have made the 150 capacity Hold a sweaty unbearable orgy. Secondly, thank Slaves that they are just a two man band because we’re not sure any extra bodies would have made it in and that would have been awkward for say a five piece having to draw straws for entrance.
First up were Native Kings. Cleaner and a step towards the alternative rock side of what we would go on to be hearing tonight it was a good stage for the Liverpool trio to make a mark on, with plenty minds for the taking and fans for the making – although we would look forward to seeing them in line up tailored to their tempo where tracks such as Sound of Victory have all the potential of being proper sing along.
Then came Baby Strange, a three piece from Glasgow that hold the prestigious title of being one of Slaves own favourite bands with Laurie donning a Baby Strange t-shirt throughout the night. It was obvious that they had a fair share of fans in the crowd too. If it hadn’t been for a solid Jool’s performance and a spot on the BBC Sound of 2015 for Slaves this lineup could have been believably been reversed. The crowds reaction lead us to believe that for them, this was a double headliner kind of night where two equally established acts got together to spoil them rotten.
There was quite a wait before Slaves but unlike when they supported Jamie T back in November where they were greeted by little more than a few head bops, here there would be no such reservations. The Shipping Forecast was host to that magical pre-headliner chatter. Baby Strange passed round a Dairy Milk Tray and bodies started gently bobbing up and down in anticipation before Dexy Midnight Runners classic Geno was sent out of the speakers with purpose, and so excitement built. One of the unique aspects of The Hold is that the ‘backstage area’ is in fact just a ‘slightly right of the stage area’ so the boss dance moves (air trumpet included) of Laurie and Isaac were on full show as they hyped themselves up and finished their bevvies before taking to the stage.
They buckled up straight away for White Knuckle Ride and rattled thought their already surprisingly familiar material breaking only for Gabby Logan heckles, inter-band compliments and the routine removal of layers. Despite being labeled a ‘Post Royal Blood’ band by a host of publications, other than being a two piece who make a lot of noise (as do Dick & Dom, Bert & Ernie and the young couple next door) that is where the similarities end and in our opinion any attempt at comparison would be an injustice to tonight’s guests.
Highlights of the night were plenty including GIRLFIGHT, a song that had recently been dropped by the duo on live outings because of its comedy rep, an amazing Band Aid style sing along to Feed the Mantaray (let them know their ocean life) and with the best ever live rendition of Debbie Where’s Your Car – their option not ours – the evening was entirely infections. You couldn’t help but bound into the mosh pit and bump shoulders with a surprisingly diverse bunch, even a freakishly tall fellow who had to constantly avoid knocking himself out on the low ceilings. Talking of low ceilings, crowd surfing isn’t something that immediately comes to mind as you enter the Hold, even more so on a sold out night like this, but crowd surfing was demanded none the less, topped off by a full length of the Shipping Forecast – sound booth and back – by Laurie. The last song of the night, Hey, followed close behind.
There’s something to be gained from being a two piece of this breed, laid bare and with nothing the hide behind the whole occasion had an honest feel. Once the music stopped and heartbeats returned to resting rate you remember you’re just below a bar in Liverpool, and as the crowd climbed the stairs up to the cool air of Slater Street blending into the mass of Friday night punters we couldn’t help but feel sorry for them and the human experience they had missed out on, just a few metres below their feet.
Never mind though as they can catch Slaves again at Sound City 2015.
Photos by Getintothis’ Tom Adam