Rock of stages

Slade high in loudness category




Slade LONDON ONTARIO 1976If the measure of greatness in rock music is the number of windows a group can smash in one performance, Kiss is ahead of the British band Slade, and Thundermug is out of the competition.

Feeling somewhat unqualified to judge the merits of Slade at Friday's concert in London Arena, I eavesdropped on the critical acclaim of volume rock veterans.

Throughout the onslaught of Slade, they applied all the tests. Glasses were held at arms length to check vibrations, feet were glued to the floor for shock impact and windows were watched for shatter splits.

One young fan volunteered the information the the US group Kiss had blown six windows in a concert display. It wasn't an eye witness account (he wasn't sure where or when), but it was enough to resolve the debate, Slade may be wonderfully loud, but not the loudest.

Still, no one seemed unhappy with second best. Slade was fortunate to be appearing before a quivering group of die hard fans who knew exactly what was coming and how to receive it. (I counted only three bodies tumbling into the night with hands clapped over raging ears.)

There is concert etiquette whhich must be observed.

Slade does not appear, it feels its way onstage. As the arena blackens and lights begin strobing, only the novice wonders why fifteen minutes have passed without action.

There is the ritual lighting of the flames (matches or lighters held aloft), then a moment (or five) of silence to peak anticipation....and when Slade strikes.

With no discernable instrumental ability and vague whining vocals, the band manages to push the audience to its feet and into pulsating frenzy. The secret, of course, is the sound which to put it mildly, is deafening.

Opening band Thundermug has rejected volume in favour of music and that is something few Slade fans seem willing or able to appreciate.



My thanks to James Reaney for digging out this review from the archives of The London Free Press and sending me the hard copy!