SLADE / SUNDOWN THEATRE, MILE END, LONDON 7/9/1972
Slade flew into London from Los Angeles last Thursday night to play the opening concert at the Sundown, Mile End Road, had a few hours sleep afterwards and then flew straight back to San Jose to continue their American tour.
And Noddy Holder had this exclusive news for the group's fans in their home town of Wolverhampton: "We're going to play a special concert there when we get back in November. It'll probably be at the Town Hall and the top price will be 65p. We'll promote the concert ourselves so it can go on at this price. Last time we appeared in Wolverhampton the promotion was done by someone else, and I felt the ticket prices were too high."
Noddy is very excited about his first trip to America, despite the group being bottom of the bill: "It's really good for us,it's like a year ago and starting all over again. Humble Pie are top of the bill, there's another group second and we go on first."
Is he managing to communicate to American audiences?
"Yes. Of course, I take the talking bit a bit slower over there, and they don't understand everything I say, but I get them clapping their hands in the end just like over here. I think it's a very good way to go to America for the first time, because you really learn this way."
That has always been the view of the group's manager Chas Chandler has never believed in pushing the group too quickly. They have taken their time in coming to the top in England and as we saw at the Sundown it's been well worth the amount of time and patience put into them.
They opened with "Hear Me Calling" and proceeded full throttle with "In Like A Shot From My Gun" and "Look Wot You Dun" until a change of tempo in the drum dominated Janis Joplin song "Move Over Baby."
All the time Noddy was exhorting the audience to "Stomp your feet. We want everybody up from the start!" And so they were. The Sundown has a seatless ground floor which was packed, and a more sedate plush-seated balcony also sold out totalling 2,500 people.
The audience responded so well that at one time as everybody stamped their feet the whole balcony literally shook. You don't really review Slade's music, you either like it or you don't. The amplification was full on and the group ploughed on through "Darlin Be Home Soon" (By John Sebastian), "Keep On Rockin," "Cos I Luv You." "Take Me bak 'Ome." "Get Down And Get With It." till they left the stage to return and play their number one: "Mama Weer All Crazee Now."
Slade are essentially a group from the working people, as opposed to the more middle class appeal of Marc Bolan and David Bowie, not to mention Poxy Music. Noddy proved he is at one with his audiences and has a lot of the club comedian about him. He has enormous zest and standing there in check trousers, black vest and top hat with silver light-reflecting discs on he had everyone doing whatever he wanted. "Thank God he didn't tell them to go out and kill." someone said afterwards.
It was good for the group and the Sundown that they were prevailed upon to break off their American tour for one night.
As for the Sundown, it's a distinct improvement as a pop venue on London's other major hall, the Rainbow. For one thing, as I've mentioned you don't have to sit down in seats in the stalls. The Rainbow has always seemed too formal to me. Then upstairs it's very comfortable, although you feel a bit like a voyeur with everyone downstairs writhing and shaking themselves about. The people were very helpful and the attitudes were different from the opening of the Rainbow when "hippie" - looking young people were more officious than Rank's straights. Rank open their Edmonton Sundown this Friday, Brixton on September 30 and later one in Charing Cross Road.
MICHAEL WALE DISC MAGAZINE 16th AUGUST 1972
Further reviews of the Sundown gig can be found by following these links :
Article researched, provided and used with the kind permission of Slade In England Historian Chris Selby