There’s a What’s On magazine locally called The Ocelot. On 24th June 2011, it celebrated its fifth birthday at Riff’s Bar, Swindon. There were three acts. I had vaguely heard of the main one, Evaline. The supporting acts were Gaz Brookfield and Slagerij, and I had never heard of either.
Gaz Brookfield kicked it off. He is great. Google him and see if he’s still going. At the time he was similar to a young, modern day Billy Bragg, touring the country with his guitar.
The next band were Slagerij. I remember Jamie from The Ocelot announcing them and saying something along the lines of, “and now for some skanking!” The person I was with looked at me with horror, as if I was going to be mortally offended but they never did know me very well. It was exactly my taste in music!
Three guys came on stage. I felt quite protective towards them – they looked like the nerds from school had started a band to be cool. I had the feeling they were going to be mediocre but decided I would cheer and clap them in any case for encouragement.
Well, there is no way to say how completely wrong I was. They blew me and everyone there, away. All their music was original apart from one (awesome) cover at the end. It was powerful music – raw energy emanating from every pore. I skanked and danced for the whole set and whooped, clapped and cheered every song, as did everyone there. Evaline followed and I think they felt the effect of having to follow a band that had energised the whole venue and not being able to match them.
I met Slagerij afterwards and was quite drunk so probably told them I loved them… a lot. I saw them live a few times afterwards and it wasn’t a fluke – they were awesome each time and I can’t wait to see them again when they come back to their home town, Swindon. It is THE BEST place to see them live.
That’s just a bit of background as to how I discovered them. Why do I love Slagerij?
I think it’s fair to say my life is quite hard sometimes (insert violins here). Without going into detail I get frustrated, upset and angry about many of the things that adversely affect my family. As a mother I’m expected to behave a certain way and be a certain person which is constraining sometimes, to say the least. I can’t play my music loudly at home – my children complain. I know right? It’s meant to be the other way around! So when driving, on my own in the car, I play my music so loud that I can feel it vibrating through my whole body.
When I listen to Slagerij’s “Swim for Shore” album at said volume in the car, it gives me a release in so many ways.
There is enough powerful RAAAAWWWRR for me to empty any anger by the time I reach my destination. With the music so loud I feel like I’m flipping the bird to all the people who annoy me – all the cliquey parents on school runs, teachers who’ve irritated me, anyone who’s judged me or my children unfairly, people who have preconceived ideas of who I am or should be. In fact, it’s like flipping the bird to the whole world in general. The sense of satisfaction this brings is immense.
Not only do Slagerij discharge my anger, they make me smile. There’s a cheekiness to many of their songs which never fails to bring a grin to my face. The fact that one song on the album is called, “I Wish There Was a Party so We Can Invite the Whole World/Universe…’cause That’d Be Ace!!!” kind of encapsulates this! So, on top of flipping the bird to the whole human race and grinning like a loon, listening to Slagerij puts me in the best frame of mind you can imagine. I feel on top of the world, cleansed and invigorated! The power of music at its best.
I’d just like to say that my favourite song is “Girls got Rhythm”. There is a video of me somewhere dancing to it at a gig, a bit like Animal from the Muppets – so much enthusiasm, very little rhythm. Unfortunately, it is not in my possession or I would post it. Despite the fact I don’t have much rhythm, I always imagine that it is written for me which makes me happy. When it ends with “Go home with me, baby” I, without fail, say to myself, “Oh, go on then” with a big grin. Music doesn’t get much better than this.
Editor’s note: I was intrigued about the meaning of the word “Slagerij” – incase anyone else is wondering, google tells me it’s Dutch for butcher.