C'mon feel the noize
(one more time)
SLADE / CIVIC HALL, WOLVERHAMPTON, 7/12/1980
WOLVERHAMPTON, The waiter is Polish and looks like he's just had an extended holiday at Auschwitz. He looks furtively around (though the place is empty) and demands to know what we're doing here on a sunday night at Christmas.
To see Slade mate, "Eh?"...Slade...a group. Already decrepid, the face becomes a mask of horror like one of the worst creations of madame Tussauds.
"Ze groups....ze groups" he explodes "Ze groups...if I had my vay I would put them against a vall and shoot them all "
THE REST of the population of Wolverhampton cram into the Civic Hall, wave their scarves high above their heads, and sing "You'll never walk alone". It's a scene so astonishing and emotional, you think you've just walked into Wembley on cup final day.
Holder's out front looking like a lascivious bodysnatcher in black hat, cape and satin trousers, roaring at us with terrifying venom. His voice still sounds like the QE2 docking, and it's still one of the few things in rock 'n' roll that'll stop you dead and blow your head off. Nod takes no prisoners.
He grabs hold of bass player and songwriting partner, Jim Lea, yanks him in front of the mike and yells "We 'ad a bit of trouble with 'im yesterday but we dragged 'im out of bed to get here so if 'e pukes up don't worry about it."
Lea, had indeed been poorly - he'd been rushed to hospital after vomiting violently following the gig in Wakefield and they'd had to cancel Sunderland - only the third Slade gig cancelled in 45 years on the road or something.
Dave Hill leers down from the top of an amp stack, precariously balanced on knee high boots with enormous stacked heels. He wears a huge cowboy hat, and dressed in white leather (liberally laced with black studs) with his hair restored to shoulder length he looks like a Mohican playing Wyatt earp in an amateur dramatic production. Don Powell, expressionless, powers it along with relentless ferocity. Holder presides like an MC at a boxing match.....
"This one's from the 'Slade Smashes' album - it's called 'Gud'buy T' Jane'. " thunderous cheering. "You might remember this 'n'....... C'mon Feel The Noize"..... and headbanging...." 'Ere's one of our favourites"...."mama Weer All Crazee Now"...imaginary guitars are produced by a predominantly youthful audience while roadies hurl toilet rolls at them.
A steady stream of stage invasions accelerate as the gig goes on, all invaders unceremoniously dumped as briskly as they arrive. Holder lets them get on with it. At a gig in South Wales a couple of years ago he bawled out a bouncer for using unnecessary brawn in the execution of his duties. After the gig the bouncer came at him and split open his face. Noddy ended up in casualty and the bouncer in prison.
They strut off with the hall in uproar. The place goes spontaneously into "You'll Never Walk Alone" and it could be the bovver beat boom days of 1974 and not the fag end of 1980.
The band return grinning - Holder in Santa outfit - to plunge into ' Merry Xmas Everybody' and you know something? I reckon it's the best damn gig I've been to all year.
COLIN IRWIN, MELODY MAKER, JANUARY 3 1981
Edited down from an article in the above publication
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