Donington, that is. BARNEY HOSKYNS straps on his
breastplate, girds his loins and takes his sword to
the HM Monsters Of Rock joust
SLADE / DONINGTON PARK 22/8/1981
Next up, Slade were the day's token jesters, an HM band only because there was nothing else to resuscitate their pitiful career. Noddy and the lads will never make the transition from singles hype to metal muthas, because their training is in pop.
Nevertheless, they can still play 'Everyday' alongside 'We'll Bring The House Down' and prompt a massed football crowd chorus as accompaniment.
Though completely incapable of irony, their extreme popularity, based on affection rather than awe, suggests that the HM fan's aesthetic may be as surely grounded in the time honoured traditions of vaudeville as in the need for some monstrous (and mythical) powerhouse of noise.
Slade have grasped the point that heavy metal is not sexual music, that if anything (as the song 'Night Starvation' testifies) it is pure sublimination of libido.
The overt sexism of many HM lyrics is a desperate guard against the threat posed to the HM brotherhood by women, just as the structure of the sound itself, with its relentless 4/4 beat and rehashed chords, is a musical shorthand for masturbation. HM cuts out, castrates the vital syncopation which r'n'b grafted onto white pop in the sixties, the on/off beat dialectic of sexuality itself.
One chord, one hand. The more crudely macho the band, the more popular they become. Whcich is why this event, with its dearth of Saxons and Maidens, was enlightening.
And also why yer average British metal fan doesn't quite know what to make of Blue Oyster Cult, who couldn't have offered a more pertinent contrast to Slade if they'd wanted to....
BARNEY HOSKYNS (anagram of wanker) / NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS / 29th AUGUST 1981