Review: Sløtface at The Joiners, Southampton

Patti Smith would put up with this shit

There's no chance of falling into a 'Slumber' with these guys - you won't be feeling any 'Night Guilt' about checking them out either. Puns aside, they were fantastic.

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Not only have I been falling in love with an increasing number of female-fronted bands (think Fickle Friends, Wolf Alice, Sälen) but I’ve also got a thing for incredible Scandinavian artists (Sigrid, Tove Styrke, Tove Lo). So when I found out about Norwegian band Sløtface, the perfect combination of everything I love with punk and feminist lyrics added on top, was going to be at my favourite venue… It was a very exciting moment. After all, I’ve filled my quota of boys with acoustic guitars.

With a deceptively chilled out, relaxed ukulele instrumental playing out of the speakers to a darkened crowd, they started their set with ‘Magazine’, the ideal Sløtface to encompass their feminist ideals as frontwoman Haley Shea sings about how “Patti Smith would never put up this shit” (Patti Smith as in seventies punk rock powerhouse, who didn’t conform to anyone’s beauty standards) and how the media are misrepresenting women’s bodies. Slowing things down marginally with ‘Pools’ and ‘Bright Lights’, their setlist proves to be a well-curated selection of songs from their Try Not to Freak Out (which was released this year and dominated their set) and Empire Records album and EP.

Although their sound isn’t necessarily the most polished, and at times the vocals are actually quite rough, I can’t imagine Sløtface sounding polished and perfect as Shea sings about how all she wants to do is listen to her breakup on repeat in ‘Sun Bleached’ and singing an entire song about promising not to freak out and trying to keep it together in ‘Try’. That, and if they’re going as hard as they were at The Joiners at every gig, it’s understandable – I just hope drummer Halvard Skeie Wiencke’s drumkit makes it through Shea’s smashing of the only parts of it that he literally didn’t have the hands to hit himself.

Songs like ‘Pitted’ or ‘Empire Records’, with lyrics about dancing embarrassingly to ‘Hotline Bling’ and playing bass for Sonic Death Monkey are just as enjoyable as their songs on feminism and equality – despite those being frequently sung about topics in their music, smaller topics like house parties are just as well written about. Continuing on with ‘Sponge State’ and ‘Try’, we were asked to be less polite and encouraged to grow the mosh pit – bassist Lasse Lokøy decided to encourage us along as he jumped off of the bass drum and moshed for a bit, and we completely lost Shea during the ‘Backyard’ closer as she delved straight into the crowd.

I’m glad that, even though this was a night when I’d rather stay home, I made it out the door to see Sløtface in such an intimate venue – I can’t imagine I’ll see them somewhere this small again. But if this was their “End-of-the-world-party’, it was a bloody good one.

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Politics and International Relations graduate, Live Editor 2016-18, now a semi-functional adult and journalist. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about the above @cmkavanagh on Twitter.

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