Slade's music is hard as rock
By BILL MANN
SLADE / CAPITOL THEATRE, MONTREAL, CANADA 24/4/1973
Just the name says a lot.
The band plays what its name suggests - basic rock.
When you go to a Slade concert, you don't go there to see fancy guitar work. You don't go to see apocalyptic lyrics set to a beat.
If you are looking for any of that, you're making a mistake. And there wasn't any of it last night when the Capitol Theatre opened its doors to rock.
No, when you go to see Slade, you GET slayed. And of course, you go boogie. And the 500 - why weren't there more? - there last night did just that.
The acoustics in the Capitol weren't designed for the high powered rock music, and the high sounds especially bounced around like bullets last night.
But through the sparsely - populated theatre about 30 minutes before the show there surged an energy that made you forget everything else. It was the raw, nervous energy of distillate rock 'n' roll something not often seen anymore.
Slade was honking. Mama Weer All Crazee Now really got things flying after a slow start. That song, a No 1 in England earlier this year, is the groups most effective song, a powerful rock number with all the right ingredients and no frills, a song that speaks in the imperative: " On Your Feet!"
The people who WERE there showed more sheer exhilerance than at any rock show I've seen here for a long time, and most people were dancing, no mean feat. This is the tour that should break Slade in North America. The groups latest single, Cum On Feel The Noize, was the first 45 since the Beatles to hit the number 1 spot in the English charts the first day of release.
Not only is Slade the most popular band in England, they're gaining a hard core of followers everywhere now. Tonight's Johnny Winter show in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens is just about sold out because of Slade.
Slade is managed by the same man who discovered and managed Jimi Hendrix, Chas Chandler (who used to be with the Animals). Chandler spotted this bar band in the gritty working class town of Wolverhampton a few years back, and the group went on to dismantle England in short shrift.
This is a young band (average age: 22). and it has made it to the top in England quickly. And, since it's the only major band around right now on the international scene playing pure rock, chances are good of Slade's going to be known for a long time: Rock is a proven sustainer.
Seeing Slade on stage was a constant reminder to me of that initial exuberance and rush of energy that many felt in 1956 when rock was being born. Slade captures that feeling better than any band I've seen in a long time.
Vocalist Noddy Holder is the heart of Slade. His caterwauls send shivers up your spine. After a while, something else hits you - Holder sounds remarkably like the late janis Joplin did. He certainly seems to work as hard on stage.
And Slade DO work, from the moment they hit the stage. It took lead guitarist Dave Hill 30 minutes to cool off after the show last night.
Bill MANN, The Gazette, Montreal 25/4/1973