Slade – live from Winterland, San Francisco – May 6, 1973 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Slade in concert to start off the week. A blast of 70s Glitter/Glam/Hard-Rock from a band who were massive in Europe, but hardly registered in the U.S.
Why? Not really sure – although, considering the fact that America was hot in the grips of The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt and the laid-back/stoner parts of SoCal rock – a band of former skinheads who transformed themselves into a quasi Glam outfit, with Platform shoes, glitter, a turbo-charged sound system along with cartoonishly spelled song titles, probably didn’t register high on the seriousness list of most “deep-listening” rock fans of the day. If memory serves, even Mott The Hoople had a hard time cracking the U.S. until David Bowie came along and gave the band (as well as the world) All The Young Dudes, changing the course of Pop Music in the 70s. But Slade were a different kettle of fish – with the ear-piercing chalkboard-voiced Noddy Holder, genteel, thoughtful and plaintive weren’t in their vocabulary – and I suspect that may have rubbed people the wrong way.
That’s not to say they were universally disliked in the U.S. – they had fans, myself among them. I liked that they were snotty and loud and sweat all over the place. They had that “working class swagger” and it probably foretold what would appear three years later as The Sex Pistols and The Damned, only stripped down and tossing the glitter aside in favor of spiked hair and ripped shirts. The loud mayhem had similarities – but by then Slade were the elder statesmen and more or less morphed into strictly Hard Rock, later serving as prototypes for the next major wave: Grunge.
But this is 1973 and none of that happened yet – in 1973 Slade were trying to crack the U.S. while being legends in the UK, at least for a while. The future was unpredictable, as it always is. This is the Slade of the Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Look Wot U Dun period. It was part of that all-enveloping stew of Rock in the 70s.
Good times – Crazee times.