Gig review – Chloe Slater at Yes Manchester

Driving a three hour round trip for a 30 minute music set might seem like madness to some people; those people have obviously not heard You Can’t Put a Price on Fun, the new – and debut – ep from Manchester singer songwriter Chloe Slater.

Because driving a three hour round trip to hear a 30 minute set is precisely what I did this past Sunday, having spent all week (since its release on Thursday) listening to the ep.

Slater is just 21, has six released tracks on Spotify, and yet is on the verge of taking over the world.

She played the Culture of Manchester All Day Bonanza at Yes, a show put on to raise money for Gaza charities. It was an afternoon and evening of young musicians playing music to raise money for a cause that’s being driven by the youth – because it has to be, with the majority of adults in any position to help positioning themselves on the side of the aggressors.

Whilst the show wasn’t set up for Slater, it might as well have been – her songs are all politically driven, and even though she’s only 21 she’s already using her voice, and her platform, to try and change the world for the better. She sings about the world as she sees it, and sadly, as a young adult in 2024, she doesn’t see it too brightly. But what makes for a sad reality, makes for fantastic music. And an incredible live show.

The last time I was in the Pink Room at Yes was to watch an up and coming Holly Humberstone; a woman in whose footsteps I have no doubt Slater can follow. Humberstone is currently in the midst of a massive headline tour across the US, and if Slater isn’t doing the same within a couple of years I’ll be very surprised.

There was a realness to Slater’s performance; at one point she forgot her own lyrics, and on several occasions she had to step away from the mic mid-song, too busy was she laughing at the shock of the size of the crowd screaming her lyrics back at her. But these only served to make her even more endearing; in 24 Hours she sings that there’s “no point saving we’ll rent ‘til we die.” For someone growing up in post-Brexit Britain, just days after our latest unelected Prime Minister has decided he wants to force all 18 year olds to do national service – something no one except sad, pathetic old people want to see happen – Slater could easily, like I imagine a lot of young people are, allow the apathy to overwhelm her. Instead, she’s turned it into something powerful, a force through which she can not just exorcise her own bad feelings, but drive change in the world.

The highlight of the set was the upbeat Price on Fun, Slater’s poppiest tune. As well as being a very political song itself, it’s also a jumpy number that’s difficult not to sing when you know the words. To evidence this, the song was being screamed back at Slater from the crowd; no small feat considering – as I keep saying – it had only been released two days previously.

As well as playing four of the five songs from her debut ep, Slater also played two other songs; her first ever single, a fast, upbeat number called Sinking Feeling, and a slower, more poignant unreleased tune called Harriet, a song which, according to Slater’s introduction, if you know you know. The two complemented the ep tracks perfectly – Thomas Street the unlucky song not to be played – and despite being new on the scene, and having released the ep only 2 days before, Slater got the sold out crowd jumping and rocking to her songs.

From the beginning of the set until the end – which did come a bit abruptly when Slater simply thanked the crowd before starting to pack up, shyness finally winning out – Slater had the crowd in the palm of her hand. For someone so young, with so few songs, having played so few shows, she out-shined a lot of the decades’ experienced, world famous bands I’ve seen. Couple that with the fact that, when I posted a clip of the show on Instagram, Slater messaged me to say thank you for coming – the woman is going to go far. I’m already excited for her next show.