Date: October 25th 2017
Venue: Rebellion, Manchester
Support: From Inside / InVisions / TheCityIsOurs / Outline In Color
For the past year or so, Slaves have had their fair share of speed bumps. After playing what were initially intended to be their last shows ever in April of last year, the band retracted their dissolve pretty quickly, instead continuing on as a three-piece.
They put together a yet-to-be-released third album, ‘Beautiful Death’, that was meant to drop last month, but then label changes happened, seeing Artery Recordings being acquired by Warner Bros. Records, and, along with this, vocalist Jonny Craig also faced some health issues. Now, the drama wiped aside, and the album release pushed back to January 2018, they’re going forth once more.
Opening for the Manchester date of their UK tour run are Liverpudlians From Inside , who certainly have a The Word Alive and early era Of Mice & Men vibe to them. Frontman Simon Mora‘s screams are harsh and harrowing, and the electronic overlays injected into the mix by Nick Stirrup certainly add more depth and a brush of Linkin Park influence. We dubbed the guys as ones to watch out for this year (here), and off this performance, we’re still sticking by that.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for following outfit, InVisions . Admittedly, things aren’t helped for the quartet when Ben Villes microphone keeps cutting out for a few songs between songs, but it’s really difficult to not be rubbed up the wrong way by their Attila-lite sound. The absence of a bassist is noticeable too, with it regularly being veiled in the mix by the live band, and, ultimately, there’s still more work to be done here.
London’s TheCityIsOurs  pick the momentum back up again, sounding akin to a more melodic counterpart to British metalcore heavyweights, Bury Tomorrow. Vocalist Sam Stolliday has some pretty impressive pipes on him as he roars and screams throughout their set, with the cleans by Mikey Page working alongside and marrying them greatly. Admittedly, their cover of ‘Earthquake’ by Labrinth is a little bit cringey, but it’s all in good fun and gets the room bouncing, and even one girl climbing on someone’s shoulders to sing along.
Now, there’s a pretty noticeable line between being engaging with an audience, and being desperate with them. Even before Outline In Color  being their set, vocalist Trevo Tatro is at the edge of the stage whilst the band are setting up, screaming for people to get involved and that, if Manchester don’t go crazy, then they’ll just refuse to play. Not a way to draw in new fans, pal.
Once the set begins, the music speaks for itself, and that’s what you need to get your fanbase growing. Their cuts hit hard one minute and reel you in with emotions the next; Jonathan Grimes‘ somewhat Kellin Quinn-like cleans being a particular highlight. Then, Tatro comes back in almost begging people to get involved, and that to get their money’s worth, the crowd HAVE to get into the thick of the pit. Some people get their money’s worth by chilling at the back with a pint, and that’s fine. Ending the set with half of the band changed over and performing a song from another project leaves a confusing end to things too. Yikes.
Coming into the set with ‘My Soul Is Empty And Full Of White Girls’, Slaves  prove that, though they might not be the most original band within the scene at the moment, what they do they do with great aplomb. As always, Jonny Craig belts out a voice that almost every one you’d ever meet would be jealous of. No matter the situation, he seems to suffer (or, rather, be blessed) with chronic voice godliness, and we’re more than okay with that. ‘Drowning In My Addiction’ sounds huge, even in the rather intimate Rebellion room, and the room sings along in unison to both ‘I’d Rather See Your Star Explode’ and ‘Running Through The !6! With My Soul’.
Having been sat on the record for several months, it’s expected and welcomed to hear a few new cuts from the forthcoming ‘Beautiful Death’. ‘True Colors’ has already reared its head here and there on previous tour runs, ‘The Pact’ and ‘Let This Haunt You’ definitely have a stronger R&B influence to them that the band have gently flirted with in the past; a genre that both Craig and bassist Colin Vieria have shown passions for, and, even on first listen in a live setting, it’s hard to not get hooked and sing along to ‘Patience Is The Virtue’.
It certainly seems like ‘Beautiful Death’ could tread towards the R&Bcore sound that their contemporaries Issues are currently pioneering and, come their encore of ‘The Fire Down Below’, Slaves bow out leaving us gagging for January to just happen already.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)