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Concert styles differ, but personnel similar





slades Noddy Holder It would be hard to imagine a greater contrast of styles than Saturday night's concert at the Columbia Music Hall in West Hartford.

On the one hand, there was Slade - dressed all in gold and glitter, snazzed up, top - hatted, playing silver spangled guitars. And then there was NRBQ, in ill fitting blue jeans, plaid wool shirts, looking slightly unshorn.

Slade played hard driving energy rock, loud and powerful. NRBQ's music, and their clothes, is more homespun and countrified.

And in the middle was Brownsville Station, an American trio trying hard to make it in a competitive field.

But despite their musical differences, the personnel of all three bands are quite similar.

The 12 men in these groups are all easy going, a bit tired of life on the road, and all hoping to 'bust it wide open' with success on the rock charts.

NRBQ for example, is counting on their new single, "Get gasoline Blues," to make it big. Oddly, the song was written before the current energy crisis and is about someone who can't afford to buy gasoline.

"I know people are going to think we wrote it just to cash in on the energy business," said Al Anderson, NRBQ's lead guitarist and a Windsor native.

"Well, we did go back to the studio to recut it for the single. We took out a jazz bit in the middle, switched things other words, we made it as commercial as possible."

NRBQ's set, which in addition to "Gasoline" and several NRBQ album cuts featured some songs Anderson wrote for his Windsor group, The Wildweeds, lasted about 30 minutes.

They were followed by Brownsville Station, a trio from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Brownsville would be just one of hundreds of unknown rock groups, except that their single "Smokin' in the boys room." has sold very well. As they say in the trade, "It has happened."

After their energetic set (there's a good deal of onstage leaping, twirling around and so forth), the three relaxed backstage and talked about their hobbies - baseball, collecting obscure records, and doing Groucho marx imitations (the trio had been bothered for a week because they couldn't remember what Groucho's name was in "A Night At The Opera." It was Otis B. Driftwood.

Slade is much more popular in England than here. In Great Britain, there is even a kind of 'Slademania' similar to Beatlemania of a decade ago.

But in Connecticut, Slade is simply another hard rock band, dressed all in glitter and trying, as they say, to happen.

After a three week American tour, the band will go to Japan, where it's already a smash.

But in America, it's playing for an hour in a West Hartford concert hall, spending night after night on the road, and beers and sandwiches backstage.

"America," said Slade's manager Chas Chandler, "Is the toughest market to crack."





From the archive of Chris Selby

Transposed by David Graham

Photograph Slade In England




Slade in England © 2015






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