It’s blisteringly hot in Madrid right now, and as the strains of ‘Je Ne Regrette Rien’ ring out across Mad Cool festival, the number one regret is surely ‘not enough fucking sunscreen’. Fitting, then, that Slaves should arrive on stage to burn the retinas of everyone in attendance, kicking off the festival with a fiery run-through of their sweat-soaked punk
Blurting out ‘Sockets’ with barely a pause for breath, they waste not a single second. “It is fuuuuuuucking hot!” screams Isaac after a rendition of ‘Live Like An Animal’ which sees his compatriot Laurie Vincent skulking about the stage, guitar in hand like a creature on the prowl. They then up the discomfort factor by demanding everyone in the crowd hug each other, ahead of a bloody-nosed run through of their breakthrough banger, ‘Cheer Up London’, itself dedicated to “all the miserable wankers on London public transport.” In their defence, mate, we dropped out of the World Cup yesterday. Give ‘em a break.
It’s the new songs that really shine under the Spanish sun though, the likes of Hives-y post-punker ‘Chokehold’ and shimmering semi-ballad ‘Photo Opportunity’ adding some much-needed melody to the tried-and-tested bolshy Slaves formula. ‘The Lives They Wish They Had’ keeps that grisly demeanour up (before ending in a big fuck off wig out) but elsewhere it’s evidence that Slaves’ new album might finally see them expanding that grump-first-ask-questions-later signature sound.
“This is the best festival in the world – fact,” barks Isaac as the set draws to a close, and though they’re band one on a packed-out weekend line-up, it’s already hard to argue. To close, they storm through ‘Hunter’ and then leg it off-stage and out into the crowd, clearly eager to drink in as much of Mad Cool as possible. A fittingly brutal start to a weekend of booze, bands and brilliance.
Live Like An Animal
Cheer Up London
Fuck The Hi Hat
The Lives They Wish They Had
Debbie Where’s Your Car
Cut And Run