Review: Slaves, O2 Academy, Newcastle

Slaves in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.
Slaves in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

After two months in the United States and Europe, Slaves kicked off the UK and Ireland leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love tour in Newcastle.

And if they get a more feverish reaction anywhere else on the 13-date jaunt, I'd love to be there to see it.

Slaves in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Slaves in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

It's hard to put your finger on the Tunbridge Wells punk two-piece's appeal; but they've got it in bucketloads among a generation who lap up their big riffs, bigger beats and huge chant-along choruses.

After well-received support slots from Willie J Healey and Lady Bird (the first signing to Slaves' own label, who've just announced a UK spring tour, including a Newcastle date at Think Tank on April 2), the stage was set for the main men.

Not that it took much setting: A couple of drums and cymbals and a mic for vocalist/drummer Isaac Holman and a mic for guitarist Laurie Vincent and we were ready for the off.

And how it went off. From the first seconds of opener Sockets the crowd went crackers, jumping all over the place and singing every word back at their idols.

Slaves guitarist Laurie Vincent in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Slaves guitarist Laurie Vincent in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Bugs and Magnolia, two tracks from the album which gave the tour its name, were next up, and they were just as rapturously received.

By the time they'd finished Holman's kit was in need of some running repairs, for the first but by no means the last time during their hour-long set.

Playing standing up at the front of the stage, with Vincent alongside him, he pummels the living daylights out of the kit, which set me wondering how many cymbals and drum skins he gets through on a tour.

Half a dozen songs from their latest album - their third in four years, all of them Top 10 - were sprinkled throughout the set, with Chokehold and The Lives They Wish They Had the pick of them.

Slaves drummer Isaac Holman in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Slaves drummer Isaac Holman in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

But it's songs from their 2015 debut Are You Satisfied?, which still makes up about half their set, which really got the place bouncing.

Cheer Up London and Feed The Mantaray (complete with actions) are top tunes, and the closing The Hunter left the crowd wanting more, but they were to be disappointed, as the lights came up with no encore.

Slaves, who are a very modern punk band, were only formed in 2012, so it has been a rapid ascent from their local pub circuit to the main stages at major European and US festivals.

When you see a crowd go as mad for them as this, it's easy to see why promoters want them on their bill; although they might not understand their appeal, the buzz they create is undeniable.

Slaves guitarist Laurie Vincent in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Slaves guitarist Laurie Vincent in action on the opening night of the UK leg of their Acts Of Fear And Love at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Willie J Healey were the first band on before Slaves at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Willie J Healey were the first band on before Slaves at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Lady Bird were the main support for Slaves at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Lady Bird were the main support for Slaves at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.