SLADE / BAILEYS NIGHTCLUB, WATFORD 3/3/1979
If ever a group personifies the volatile nature of the pop game then it's Slade.
For two years from 1972 they could do no wrong....had even the heaviest critics foaming at the mouth about how wonderful they were.
They had credibility with a big C. long before Jimmy Pursey was fostering his working class myths, Slade were into bad spelling in a big way --- 'Take Me bak 'Ome', 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now', 'Gudbuy T'Jane' and 'Cum On Feel The Noize'.
Only it was fun then, and however crass you thought Slade were there's no denying they could write decent chunes.
Then they blew it.
Their movie 'Flame' failed to ignite the public's imagination, repeated attempts "to break" Slade in America failed, and --- fashionable though it was to be working class in '76 --- by this time Slade were strictly outre.
Still managed by ex-Animal Chas Chandler, they're now to be found working the colleges and cabaret circuit and are regulars at Watford Baileys.
Although acutely aware of their unenviable position, they still attack with all their old gusto.
The Baileys audience wasn't exactly bristling with life, but for all the band seemed to care they could have been topping the bill at Earls Court.
the glitter has gone, platform boots are left in the wardrobe (though Noddy Holder still wears his trusted titfer), but the only concession to 1979 appeared to be Dave Hill's leather strides and a severe shearing of his locks.
Visually and musically they were tight and exciting. Hill and Jim Lea swapping stage positions with energetic dexterity.
In the final analysis there is little real difference between Slade and Status Quo or Thin Lizzy, and it could be that a hit single would shoot them back to the top.
But it could also be that they are designed to remain in the shade for the rest of their natural.....time will tell.
STEVE CLARKE / NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS / 31st March 1979
Image courtesy of Dave Kemp