As soon as Slug stepped on to the Far Out Stage at Green Man Festival, it was clear their set would be one to remember. Front man and Slug pioneer Ian Black, clad in a tuxedo, stood triumphantly atop the stage, flanked by his band, all of whom wore sailor outfits. Blasting into the opener from their debut album, ‘Grimacing Mask’ the band gave of a sound that echoed that of Wild Beasts fused with The Rapture, with a sprinkling of Arctic Monkeys.
Right from the off, Slug had the audience in the palms of their hands. They couldn’t get enough of these charming North Easterners. Black can’t seem to comprehend the overwhelmingly positive him and his band are receiving. ‘I wasn’t joking when I said I love you’, he tells the audience through a beaming smile. The banter he exchanges with the audience is down to earth and incredibly sincere, which just makes the band all the more likeable.
But when it comes to the serious business of music, Slug have got that sorted too. Musically they’re tight and intricate. Their drum and percussion beats drive the rock fuelled songs on, with some unusual and complex rhythms. On a song like ‘Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped in Plastic’, the backing vocals are required to be tight in such a fast paced chorus, but the band never misses a beat. This mastery over the music gives Slug the opportunity to give their songs even deeper personality.
While they work excellently as a musical unit, Slug have an edge that lets them incorporate a comedic element into their performance. Each member has a character, a stage personality, which they bring to the show. There’s the eccentric drummer, the solemn, almost static bass player, the chilled, head bobbing keyboard and guitar players, with Ian Black heading them up as the leader. Whilst bordering on the theatrical, Slug’s performance is kept grounded through heard hitting and often funky music.
Tracks like ‘Eggs and Eyes’ and ‘Kill Your Darlings’ are catchy, exciting tracks that are reminiscent of modern Indie Rock bands, but with an electronic and experimental edge that makes Slug’s music that little more exciting and enjoyable. Sometimes a chunky bass line will remind you of a Queens of the Stone Age song, but then Slug will jump into a funk or dance rhythm that could have been inspired by LCD Soundsystem.
As the set draws to a close, the audience are still as hyped as the moment the band stepped on stage. In a moment of madness, as the band reprise their song ‘Running to Get Past Your Heart’, front man and drummer switch places, the now new front man hopping from foot to foot, slamming out a massive guitar solo. The audience lap it up, and Slug leave the stage, leaving behind not a slimy trail, but a blaze of glory.
Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped in Plastic
Sha La La
Eggs and Eyes
Shake Your Loose Teeth
Running to Get Past Your Heart
At Least Show That You Care
Kill Your Darlings
Running to Get Past Your Heart (Reprise)