SLADE / NEW VICTORIA THEATRE LONDON 25/04/75
"THE TAX man in this country is a bit of a problem, he's trying to take all our money off us, Lets Boo him."
Noddy Holder was the rabble rouser at the New Victoria, London, last Friday.
He had that sort of absolute control over a huge crowd of Slade fans, and he built and built and built on the good mood he brought into the theatre, within seconds of taking the stage, and he never lost his hold.
Slade are happy pop at its best, no lyrics of deep philosophy, no harmonising, not even a good voice. Instead Noddy's "football vocals" and everybody determined to have a good night out. Shout your heads off, clap yer' hands, and do as Noddy says.
This is perhaps where "group pop" began, before adventurous musicians coined the word 'progressive', a love song here, a clomping beat, a sexy guitar stance and fish and chips, or a pint of bitter after the show.
Slade are easy champions in this league. "The manager of the hall," yells Noddy, "Is a bit frightened in case he gets his seats broken..." A mocking roar of laughter from the crowd, and later, " We'd better get quiet now, there's a bloke from the council here who reckons we're exceeding the noise limit." More laughter.
Introducing their new single Noddy said, "The beeb has made us change the words of the record. They reckon the old ones were dirty."
Audience : Ahhhhhhhhhhh.
Noddy: "But we're gonna do the original version tonight." The audience goes bananas.
It's all based on the old plan of getting peoples sympathy -- clever manipulation of a crowd to ensure they are on your side for ever.It works though, before Slade had played a note of "You'll never walk alone" the crowd was swaying happily, unaccompanied by music, for several minutes. Glittering top hats were all over the place, Slade scarves were worn, banners held high. The kids were alright.
Slade are now as slickly professional as you'd expect from a group who have been at it for three solid years of success. Their act is paced superbly, includes all the hits the fans expect more and more, and they look really great. Their sound reproduction is superbly first class -- every word and every note can be heard at any point in the hall. The swirling light effects add a touch of glamour to an already glittering night, and the lads uniforms are dandy. Slade have reached the very pinnacle of Yob Rock. For the cynics, and some critics, a dubious honour maybe, but it's a pinnacle nonetheless, and they wear the crown well.
Support band Bunny were a poor and unpopular choice for the Slade show. Featuring lead singer Linda Millington, who comes on like Janis Joplin, the band is loud and bludgeoning and their songs are relentlessly fast. They have a tight act but as second stagers to Slade they were a poor contrast in style to a vastly superior band. A case of very bad billing .
RAY COLEMAN / NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS 2nd May 1975