Times Up

Sounds - February 1981
All Crazee (Again) - Hammersmith Odeon review - Steve Keaton

"GOWANNNNODDEEE!!" bellowed an obese lunk next door to me as the lights dimmed. "Yyeahgoodole Noddee! Whoahhoooo!". The poor guy seemed almost rabid with excitement. I was getting quite worried. I can tell you.
His not unnoticeable paunch was quivering quite violently and I began to have terrible visions of it bursting over my already filthy pumps. Imagine all those partially digested hot dogs, curdled ice cream and flat lager.
Charming. And he wasn't the only one. I was surrounded by bawling punters, boots were stomping and arms flailing. I could have drowned in a sea of ruptured stomaches and no one would have noticed.
Too be honest, Slade had this gig handed to them on a telly promoted plate. They could have hidden behind the drum kit and blown kazoos all night and still have gone down a storm. But they didn't, of course. Noddy Holder OAP ('orrible aging popstar) and his jolly band of brigands gave everything they had - they delivered the goods with a sledgehammer. Without question it was the brightest, hardest and (most definitely) loudest set I've yet see them unleash.
They were as slick as Deep Throat and just as chatty. Mind you it was also horribly predictable. They churned out all the usual old "we're gonna have a rrrrockin' and rrrrolin' night tonight" flannel and it was song for song the same as the last time I caught them. Only the audience were wilder. But then what do you expect? As far as glitzy knees ups go this was the tops. The band played their parts brilliantly and the kids loved the movie. Yep, their flashbomb tapestry is back in favour once again.
Slade have, I think, finally shed their image as rock's zombies, long dead yet still stumbling around. Certainly tonight they packed out the Odeon with conviction and the atmosphere was far from nostalgic. The great old smashes like 'Gudbuy T' Jane' and 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' came over fresh and strong and mingled well with the newer and heavier 'Night Starvation' and 'When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fighting'.
Dallas Dave Hill particularly excelled himself - despite the Larry Hagman handmedowns - with some masterful guitar work, most notably on the showstopping 'The Wheels Ain't Coming Down', the standout track from the 'Return To Base' album (check it out yobs). I must admit though that my interest waned at times, the 'Live EP' medley is becoming a trifle wearisome and I could have lived without all the pandering to the simian element (chants of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and such like) but then them's the breaks. This gig was a triumph, of that there can be no doubt.
Slade's main concern must now centre around the vinyl to consolidate the success of their recent compilation elpee with other chart honours. I can't say I think that the new single 'We'll Bring The House Down' is overly hot but I'm sure it'll bring Top Of The Pops back within their eager grasp. Friends, a new age of Slademania waits drooling just around the next speaker stack.

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