It’s just gone 8pm and Slaves’ dressing room at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth is a picture of domestic bliss. Guitarist Laurie Vincent, 22, is darning turn-ups on to the orange jumpsuit he’ll wear onstage. Isaac Holman, 23, Slaves’ singer and almost certainly the only stand-up drummer currently with a major-label record deal, is ironing a pair of business slacks with meticulous care.
Vincent takes a break from sewing to ask me to rub argan oil into a fresh tattoo of a 1940s deep-sea diver that covers half his back. The harmony of the scene is spoiled only by the smell: the rich notes of the oil mingle in the air with the strange pancake aroma that’s emanating from Holman’s sweat-soaked trousers and the fetid stench of a blocked toilet next door. Ah, so this is that glamorous rock’n’roll we’ve heard so much about.
“I haven’t even pooed,” laments Vincent. “I wish I could poo.”
If things go to plan, Slaves won’t have to put up with backed-up toilets for much longer. This is the first night of the band’s first full headline UK tour, which is almost entirely sold-out across the country. After signing to Virgin/EMI last March, they were named on the BBC’s Sound Of 2015 list in January, and recent singles Hey and The Hunter both became fixtures on primetime Radio 1. They’ve used this exposure to build a rabid fanbase that, in Portsmouth tonight, will include not only screaming 18-year-old girls but also their fathers, nodding and declaring Slaves “a proper old-school punk band”.