I got the opportunity to check out the Sacramento based post-hardcore band Slaves as they toured through Cleveland, Ohio last week, and their performance was one of the best I’ve been to in a while.
Their set opened with some beautiful piano riffs and very sparse, yet emphatic, drum hits which helped to set up the intense and emotional vibe that the band exudes. While the bar stage wasn’t all that big, they made up for it by allowing for a lot of vertical movement with risers, so that the musicians could get way up above the crowd. This coupled with the wonderful lighting effects Slaves had set up made for a pretty intense and awesome concert experience. (Side note, I vastly enjoyed watching Jonny stomped through the stage riser and splinter the wood.)
The musicians themselves killed it. The drums were both beautifully written and performed, the guitarist and bassist were extremely solid, and the vocalist, Johnny Craig (formerly of Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance) was extremely involved on stage. He was so animated that even if there was no music playing this show would have been fun to watch. I honestly haven’t seen a performer be that outwardly invested in his music in quite a while. Between the high emotional intensity of each song, resided subtle, electronic/ambient transitions that provided a welcome respite as the crowd prepared for the next song.
Slaves’ overall performance was absolutely incredible (especially including the fact that their guitarist was having stomach problems and was vomiting between songs backstage; he didn’t miss a single note). Coupled with the awesome lighting effects and just how animated Johnny Craig was on stage, I would absolutely recommend to anyone who is given the chance to make it out to one of their shows!