Glam bands battle it out
SLADE & SWEET
The Palace Theatre, Manchester Wednesday, December 4.
IT was a battle of the Glam bands at the Palace Theatre, as Slade took on Sweet in a no-holds-barred contest.
Sweet were up first with a full hour of excellent music. The original guitarist Andy Scott held things together while bandmates Pete Lincoln (lead vocals & bass), Bruce Bisland (drums), and Tony O’Hora (keyboards and guitar) provided excellent support.
They started with a track from their New York Connection album, a hit for fellow Glam Band Hello, called New York Groove (another cover You Spin Me Right Round, followed later). But, apart from those two tracks, the other 10 songs (I counted) were all hits.
Hell Raiser and Teenage Rampage set the tone, and the sublime Love is Like Oxygen, with Fanfare For the Common Man neatly in the middle, showed off the band’s supreme musicianship.
Sweet have also got some serious Rock chops; they are not the Glam Rock band we pigeon-hole them as – they are a hard rock band of some talent. They finished with four of their finest: Blockbuster, Fox on the Run, Action and Ballroom Blitz.
Slade also treated us to a hitfest, beginning with Gudbuy t’Jane. The two originals, guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell, were ably assisted by singer/guitarist Mal McNulty and bassist/violinist John Berry. Dave Hill, ever the showman, strutted around the stage and seemed to be on top of his form.
Slade, unlike Sweet, appear to edge more towards the ‘camper’ end of the entertainment spectrum, and this was no bad thing as they have never been known for being highbrow.
Finesse went out the window as, even during the slower and dare I say, quieter numbers like Everyday, the determined Don Powell smashed seven bells out of the drum kit. No wonder he wears a gum shield! With the crowd on their feet, the band went through their hit catalogue: Far Far Away, ‘Cos I Luv You, and Cum on Feel the Noize among them.
Naturally, right at the end, the Christmas hats came out for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the classic Merry Xmas Everybody. Great entertainment and great music; sheer power from Slade, but I think Sweet won the battle on points.