We are the bootboys (A continuing series)
Garry BUSHELL - Sounds 1/10/1980
Slade/ U2/ Discharge
SLADE / LYCEUM BALLROOM, LONDON 19/10/1980
EUPHORIA, EXCITEMENT, acclaim, celebration - you name it, Slade commanded it tonight, roaring out of the swirling mists of time like conquering heroes returning to their native land.
'Retrogression' you say,' Bollox 'I say, Slade were by far the punkiest band on the bill, but then the opposition weren't that hot.........
Discharge oozed on first with all the grace and appeal of a syphilitic sore. Crassland refugees from grim old Stoke and frontline heroes of the even grimmer underground punk mentality, Discharge suppurated a series of painful bursts of indistinguishable noise totally bereft of such essentials as choons and singalong chorusus.
If it weren't for the fact that they threw in a mumbles between songs I'd have been convinced that they were playing one long winded 40 minute concept number, doubtless dedicated to the destruction of four years of musical progress. Natch the smattering of Crass fans present loved every pustulent minute and the band encored on the strength of two farts and a cough down the front.
U2 came as a brief relief, sounding initially so much more positive than all that puerile pretend punk. But the magic soon wore thin as the cracks beneath the bands polished edifice became more and more apparent. Firstly the newer material confirmed the impression that U2 are letting their pretensions run away with them, moving from the joyous pop gems that made their initial appearances so refreshing to tedious drawn out yawns that even the Edge's often breathtaking fretwork fluency couldn't compensate for. And secondly Bono's glum, self satisfied pronouncements became increasingly offensive as the night progressed. It seems like he's beginning to believe the messianic treatment he's getting from the self styled radical press---a real cotton wool job that lets him get away with outrageous nonsense, advocating Adam and Eve over Darwin, without being pulled up about it. Underneath the glittery surface U2 would appear to be nurturing some severely unhealthy elements.
Which is more than can be said for Slade, who presented one of the most pleasurable hours of yob rock it's been my pleasure to 'oi - oi' to this year. The atmosphere had enough electricity to supply the domestic power of the USA for five years--the crowd was like a huge slice of the Kop, 80 minutes into a 5-0 thrashing--and Slade fed off it, growing huger and more manic before our very eyes. Honestly, I'd put money on it that this aint the same band that I watched striving rather desperately at the MM last year. Its as if the Reading triumph and the top 50 EP have pumped em' full of new adrenalin and energy and confidence because the stage literally exploded in a mass of smoke bombs, silly trousers, toppers, bowlers whooping and a wailing and other expressions of purest glee.
I must admit I'd only come along to see the old classics, 'Everyday', Take me bak ome', 'Cum on feel the noize,' 'Gudbuy t Jane,' 'Mamma weer all crazee now,' 'Get down and get with it.' et al. But like the old one goes nostalgia ain't what it used to be and before I knew it I was quite literally swept off my feet by the sheer hard rocking power of the reborn band.
The new Slade hit with the power of an out of control subway train putting most of the much mooted NWOBHM to shame. 'Night Starvation' is a case in point, possessing more balls than a bingo caller and featuring Jimmy and Dave pogoing goofily along to its punky pace. Other highlights had to include the arms in air with imaginary scarf classic 'Everyday' and the show stealing (relative) newie 'The Wheels Ain't Coming Down', and as encore justifiably followed encore the evening dissolved in my memory as a gorgeous celebration of high energy entertainment, random football chants and carefree singsonging. Sham were never this good at it.......