‘There’s no gig like an Ally Pally gig’ is a phrase that has commonly come up in conversations with people about their favourite venues and performances.
It’s history is rife, with global guests gracing the stage every year,
making it a breeding ground for youthful carnage and memorable spectacles for die hard fans and their favourite bands.
Slaves were coming here off the back of their third LP release ‘Acts of Fears and Love’, an album that snatches the restless anguish of their other records, but fleshes itself out in reflective ballads. Slowthai is easily the hottest rapper in the UK at the moment, tampering with the energy of grime and the snarling angst of punk; a perfect main support for the Kent duo.
Also on the bill, were one of our favourite up and coming artists: LadyBird, bringing their riotous energy to an engrossed Ally Pally, and the contrastingly calm Willie J Healy. London was in for a treat.
It must be difficult coming out of Kent as a punk rock outfit nowadays, considering the high standard Slaves have set. With an audience varying from members of Wolf Alice, to Issac Holman’s Dad, and unsettled teenagers, Lady Bird relished the opportunity to portray their sweet blend of 80s era punk licks and innovative organ filled choruses. ‘Boot Fillers’ was a particular highlight, lighting the fuse for a very rowdy night at
Up next was Slowthai, who some would naively call an outsider on the list of support. Slaves’ appreciation for other artists and genres, who champion a similar sort of energy to themselves, is incredibly admirable.
It is difficult to tie down Slowthai at the moment; his riotous blend of anarchy inspired punk and thrilling grime is just what the U.K needs right now; his set showed just how frustrated a nation England is.
Whilst the whole crowd bellowed ‘Fuck Theresa May’ (on his command) they opened up huge pits, splitting themselves in half to classics like ‘IDGAF’ and new bangers in the calibre of ‘Polaroid’, which he abrasively opened with.
Stripping to the bone, only a pair of Supreme boxers to cover himself, Slowthai insited a lawless disturbance like no other support could, and still managed to throw up and chuck his TNs provocatively in the audience. He is just what this generation needs, so it was piss annoying to hear a few ignorant fans booing him, despite the energy equalling the performance from Slaves that night.
One of the many reasons I love Slaves is how little they take themselves seriously. Getting the party started with 80s pop classics like ‘it’s raining men’ and ‘the cha cha swing’, it is odd to see an array of teenage punks moshing to some of the most mainstream tracks of the past 30 years.
They strolled on stage, shredding their rendition of Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’, forcing the audience to open up the pits and getting the crowd surfing going. Arguably their new album hasn’t been as well received as their debut ‘Are you satisfied?’, but you wouldn’t know have known it at Ally Pally that night. The duo smashed their set to pieces, feeding off the energy of the audience and getting them on stage for the ‘Cut and Run’ dance.
Their special sea animal made an appearance too, infesting the stage for their fan favourite, ‘Feed The Mantaray’. A girl comprised a costume of bin liners, which was enough for the band to serenade her on stage, much to the displeasure of the security. It was the perfect set list, blending the old, the experimental, ands the new. For a band limited in resources, they make an absolute racket, and a strangely varied set of sounds to many Punk bands over the years. I still love the unpolished tones of their original EP ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Truth’, so it was nice to see them play ‘Beauty Quest’, and the acoustic highlight ‘Are You Satisfied’ from their debut LP too.
It was a night of little gimmicks, just pure music and teenaged angst. How gigs should be.