JAN ILES RECORD MIRROR 26/4/1975
On thei final tour of Britain Slade prove it:
They're the best pop group around
SLADE / WINTER GARDENS BOURNEMOUTH 18/4/1975
It's Friday night and everyone has just got paid. The support band are playing with all the verve they can muster,but most people are emptying their wage packets in the Winter Garden's bar, guzzling a few jars before Slade come on.
The bands supporters are an odd bunch indeed. There are no replicas of Nod and Dave, no top hats or caveman boots,this lot are as varied as a packet of liquorice allsorts. Propped up at the bar are a middle aged couple who would seem more at home at a James Last concert. The lady is wearing a crimplene two piece and is fiddling with the cherry in her babycham. Her companion is even more out of place and obviously feeling more self conscious about his crown topper!!
Next to them are two hippy looking guys with Lady Godiva hair (Is this why baldy is uncomfortable?) who are chatting about Slade as they swig back their draught Guinness. Sitting in the lush plastic seats near to me are two teenies, necking and slurping and whispering sweet nothings, while a pin up blonde guy has a barney with some heavy.Just coming out of the loo is a little Alice in Wonderland character wearing her Sunday best gear and clutching her mum's hand very tightly - could be her first ever concert.
I leave the bar because its getting like being in a Sardine can and am just in time to catch the end of Bunny's act. The group are a competent little rockpile, but are much too loud and a trifle muffled. The leading light of the combo is the sexy blonde singer who is giving it all she's got. They do a rendition of Janis Joplin's 'Piece of my heart', very nicely, but 'Breakaway' their own composition just pips the former number at the post, with the singers voice sounding really gutsy, a kinda raunchier Lulu.
Bunny leave the stage after a fairly noisy round of applause and the crowd waits patiently for the geezers to arrive.Only a short while passes and the crowd begin to get restless "We want Slade",they chant, "SLADE...."
When they finally appear a bunch of chicks rush to the front of the stage to greet their idols and practically everybody is off their bums waving their hands in the air. One little sonny Jim has to sit on his dads shoulders to see what's going on, and others stand on their seats to be free of the big heads.
"How ya feeling?" Noddy asks " I 'ope your gonna enjoy yerselves tonite" "YEH" the crowd roars back, they sure will.
The band start off with a foot tapper (to make sure the dozers wake up) titled 'Monkeys cant swing', a track off their latest album.
They're sure on form,sounding better than ever.Visually it's the same old Slade.Noddy and Dave are still the dandies of the combo, with Jim and Don concentrating more on the sound of things. Nod is clad in a ginormous spotty dick tie which reaches to his ankles and Dave looks like a lurex cowboy with his trousers neatly tucked into baggy boots: Liberace style coat tails flapping as he twirls. Jim looks quietly stunning in glittery jacket and white bags but Don is positivley jejune in the plainest of dungarees, chosen because he sweats a lot.
"It's been about a year since we played 'ere." Noddy begins after the first number, "So everybodys gonna let go, Right!!"
RIGHT (meta meaning: whatever you say Noddy - boy)
The Bangin' Man strikes again in its inimitable way, Old Nod's vocals are just as rasping and wailing as ever, and ya just gotta hand it to him, the guy has charisma all right. He may not be the best looking bod of all time, but jeeze he's horny.
And so is Slade's music, it's more aggressive live, and those 'ole familiar tunes like 'Gudbuy T' Jane', are more full bellied here than on disc. In ze flesh( i.e live) they're the best pop group around. "We don't care if we cause a riot". shouts Naughty Nod, leading the kids on . "We'll just frighten the shits out of em all!" chuckles from the crowd. " Anyway, 'ere's another number from the film. Did anyone see it by the way? It was a good flop wasn't it ?" Far far away echoes around the hall, which sounds sweet and soothing done live, proving that it has to be one of the most bitter sweet singles of the year.
On this number the geetars are in complete harmony. Jim and Dave play side by side rocking to and fro with the beat. This type of showmanship gets the crowd off their feet and cheering in typical football crowd fashion.
To fill the gaps Nod carries on about Jimmy being too shy to play organ (ahhh) unless Dave goes over and kisses him (Wooooh) . Noddy must be ad - libbing again 'cos jim looks over and throws him a funny look, as if to say 'Get Knotted'. Instead of a kissing session we get their latest single which Nod informs us is banned by the BBC because of the dirty words! apparently he has had to go into the studio's and clean it up a bit.
"But You'll be hearing the uncensored version." he tells the crowd.
The song, called 'Thanks for the memory' is a sixties orientated number which contains Booker T type organ making it sound a real little nightclub wooser. It's gonna be another hit for the boys, no trouble!!
Now the kids really are going to town. so far Slade can do nowt wrong, it's strange, the ardour is still red hot, even though Slade have been laying low for some time. The critics may be hinting that Slade are dead -- but they wont lay down ! I take a look around at the vast hall to watch how much the kids are getting a kick out of the show and spy a quaint looking humanoid who is fifty if he's a day. He is about four feet nine inches tall with slick back hair and thick black rimmed specs. He is swaying back and forth to the music, his pink nylon shirt glistening in the dark. He looks so awkward and out of place
shuffling from side to side. My attention is lifted from him however when Jim starts
skylarking around by doing a neat little guitar riff to Bolan's Hot Love, which leads straight into the football favourite "You'll Never Walk Alone"
The crowd respond to this by swaying together holding their Slade scarves high in the air. YOU'LL NEVER WALK AAAALONE they yell in typical north bank slang. Girls scramble on stage only to be carried away by the 'eavies. It's complete and utter bedlam. "We're gonna treat you to a newie" screams Nod. " We wrote it on the way down 'ere, and it's called It's Raining Down On My Champagne." Believe me y'all, it's a real good un. This thumping ass blowing beat is maybe the best song that they have written in yonks.It's chorus is a cross between the flambouyant La Bamba and the Beatles stomper, 'Twist and Shout'
The last song is probably the boot boy's anthem, 'Mama weer all crazee now', which has Noddy straining to red in the face proportions...croaking like a constipated frog "Mammmmma yeh,Mammmmma Yeh."Nod has one last joke at Don's expense, saying that they wanted to write a song about his love for chewing gum, but all they could think of was 'stick it up ya bum, bum, bum, stick it up, ya bum".
Slade ultimately come back for the encore . "All right everybody....Burp!!...Let your hair down." The kids join in to the beat of get down and get with it as though their lives depended on it. The boys finally leave the stage. Time to say Toodoloo, 'cos here endeth their first gig.