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Slade LIVE Bradford University 1979I had a yearning to be right at the front. Defying the crushing mass of the crowd for the opportunity to gaze into the mouth of Noddy Holder.

I wished my eyes could extend out like a little pair of marbles on the ends of stalks to reach deep down inside, past the yellowing teeth, the fetid tongue, the tonsil scars, way down yonder to examine just where that coarse yodel comes from.

There's definitely something lodged in the body of Noddy Holder that could be removed after his death (althrough some would prefer it done sooner) and exhibited in the Authorised Medical Personnel Only section of some pioneering research hospital.

There, one December day, it would send shivers of terror streaking through the veins of young medics by bawling from its glass case "Merrie Christmas Everybody.........."

Noddy Holder's voice is the dream (!) topping to Slade's otherwise unremarkeable tho' high horsepower racket. That vinegar gargle reels off intros and chants too transcendental to repeat. They make little sense when not delivered with the sage like wisdom of the master.



Slade LIVE Bradford University 1979Dave Hill wears a cowboy hat in place of a mortar board and plays guitar like a graduate of BBC2's Rockschool.

He takes a brace of two note riffs, presents them this way, that way, back to front, upside down, inside out and laces them together either end of each song with a grandiloquent yet somehow poetic overkill.

And then there's Jimmy Lea: watching Jimmy Lea is a show in itself. Kicking his bass. Playing 'Purple Haze' on his bass. Jumping all over the PA. Leaving then returning for a delectably oafish fiddle solo.

Slade are a perfectly rounded entertainment. A celebration of the ritual in pop rock (with all the narrow boundaries that glib category implies).

Slade neither stretch nor contract into anything above or beyond their immediate selves.

Thoughts of their potential metaphysical resonance are dulled when they start chucking bog rolls.

There is a kind of excitement: the controlled kind. Like a box of safety matches, Slade are inflammable but not dangerous.

Not that they need to be. The streamers are thrown back and forth. Arms are raised. 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. The building seems to move.

I was lounging on the balcony and the sea of hands below took on the eerie to and fro motion that the carpet had the last time I was seriously drunk (August 3rd 1978)

But this time I didn't throw up.



From the archive of Chris Selby

Photographs courtesy Tom Rennox

Slade in England © 2015







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