SLADE /HAMMERSMITH ODEON, LONDON 26/1/1981
The analogy between soccer and pop is much over used and generally irksome, but it suits Slade right down to the ground. See, the larger the venue and the bigger the occasion, the better they play; and they approach Ham O like the hallowed turf of Wembley, looking to thrash the living daylights out of any opposition in sight.
Groomed through bygone months in the big time and bolstered by years in small, sweaty clubs, they've got all their tactics well nigh off pat and know all their chords like the backs of their hands. So right from the kick off all resistance is useless.
Don Powell, the team's no nonsense beat keeper, boots all the hits right up field where big Jim Lea brings 'em down on the bass, juggles 'em around with some frantic fiddling, and lays them off to dapper Dave Hill to indulge in his characteristically fancy fretwork before teeing up the buggers for Nod to head home.
As of yore the crowd goes ape, but nowadays the colours have changed. Seventies Slade were bogus Glam Rockers in stove pipe hats and neck breaker stacks whereas eighties Slade ditch the bricklayer drag for the latest line in cowboy kitsch and play real heavy metal with lashings of mirth.
The revamped classics are royally riotous and the new stuff like "Night Starvation" and "The wheels wont come down" threaten to do just what their new single promises and damn nearly bring the whole house down.
It just goes to show that fads may come and fads may go but our Nod's as good as a drink to a blind headbanger.
STEVE SUTHERLAND, MELODY MAKER, 7/2/1981