“Cum on Feel the Noize” (and smell the weed)

June 18th 1972 Callander Park, Falkirk…

…and the weirdest gig I can remember attending and not in the sense of the music played that day either.

First my dignity demands I make it clear that I am not, and was never, a fan of Slade (other than “Merry Xmas Everybody” – but who isn’t) but I, like many others, couldn’t resist the temptation to head along to the gig to see what all the fuss was about. A relatively unknown Dunfermline band was opening for them and I am still cursing to this day that I was late arriving and missed seeing Nazareth play. To my dismay I was only to hear their last number as it blasted out in the distance as I approached the venue.

To give you a flavour of the location here’s a photo I snapped some years ago of where the stage was set up. Imagine no snow and the stage set roughly between the two set of stairs.

DSCF1769_edited-1

I discovered an another eyewitness account here – http://www.falkirkmusicscene.info/acts-famous.html

Slade: At the height of their success, Slade returned to the area, playing at Callendar Park, Falkirk (entry was 25 pence!). John Leishman says of that day:

“During that gig the Estate was packed with hippies all groovin’ (as they say) and lots of families and their kids picnicing. There were quite a few support bands on the bill whose names slip my mind, as I was pretty stoned / tripped out at the time (as were a lot of others!). I do remember it was a beautiful hot sunny day, lots of people swimming in the lake and little groups dressed in kaftans and multi coloured patched Levi`s all over the Estate smoking and rolling joints, dancing, and spreading the “love and peace” philosophy. Some played acoustic guitars, mouth organs and tablas, and sang James Taylor, Neil Young and Crosby, Stills and Nash songs. There was a bit of a scuffle at the stage area early on when “Hell`s Angels” arrived. As usual they took it on themselves to be security, causing a bit of trouble between them and the official hired security. My brother Duncan was a member of the official security and after a bit of a fracas they managed to sort it out. Apart from that it was a great day, the music was “far out, man”, and as usual Slade did the business.”

Interestingly what was omitted from this brief account of the proceedings was the chaos that followed Slade wherever they went – their fanatical “bovver boys”. With shaved heads and Doc Martin boots the “bovver boys” were easy to pick out. “Skinheads” was another term for them. These days the look is reserved for far right extremist groups. The “bovver boys” tended to be drawn from the less intellectual (and in general more thuggish) members of the community and were, as my father would have put it “an accident looking for a place to happen”.

What distinguished this concert from any other I have ever attended was the striking self-segregation of the crowd. Around the stage you had the seething precursor to the mosh pit comprising totally out of control (and more importantly – completely out of time) “bovver boys” crashing into each other with mindless enthusiasm regardless of potential brain damage.

Behind the last of this heaving mass there lay a 20m “no-go” zone. There were no barriers, no security, no (apparent) minefield; the gap just came into being of its own accord. Beyond stood an odd assortment of normal teenagers, hippies, grown-ups, weans and dugs. I say “stood” but that varied a bit. It was the normal teenagers who “stood”, poised, ready for flight should the de-militarised zone be breached. The grown-ups, weans and dugs had their own family crowd control issues to contend with, which left the hippies who were sprawled out on the grass in a totally relaxed and happy haze. The haze, I may add, was a fairly dense cloud of sweet smelling weed which probably accounted for the fact that nobody in the back rows of the crowd seemed particularly bothered about the carnage (or the music) in front of them. They probably reckoned if the “bovver boys” charged the “no-go” zone the smell would incapacitate them instantly.

Surprisingly I can recall no unfortunate incidents nor for that matter do I have anything worthwhile to say about the music – which is a bit sad and a terrible way to end a post – so I won’t. Instead I’ll leave you with an indelible mental image of what never happened that day with “bovver boys”, normal teenagers, grown-ups, weans, dugs and (very reluctantly) the hippies all bouncing about screaming at the tops of their voices…

“Ma…Mama weer all crazee now!”

Addendum:

As a bonus here’s post title track made famous by Slade but covered by a much better band…

 

 

4 thoughts on ““Cum on Feel the Noize” (and smell the weed)

Add yours

  1. I have a definite soft spot for Slade (and for me it’s their version of Cum On Feel the Noise over Oasis’ any day) but then I was only 12 or 13 when they were at the height of their success, and as they said themselves, they were practically the TOTP house band at that time.

    Strange times back then though as so many movements overlapped – We had the tail end of the hippy era, Slade had left their skinhead incarnation behind but still had such followers, Glam Rock was in the ascendance but we also had Hell’s Angels turning up – What a bizarre concert that must have been (I never went to “gigs” I’m afraid).

    I see you have included some Nazareth too – They featured quite prominently in the Rip It Up telly show didn’t they, as well as in the exhibition. Dunfermline definitely produced a lot of talent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Courtesy of the “Rip it Up” series and exhibition I was astonished to find how much influence Scottish artists had over how pop music progressed over the years. I gained the impression that it was possibly more at the cutting edge rather than achieving huge commercial success.

      The early 70s saw the exponential rise of the LP – record companies were churning out anything and everything they could get their hands on. Looking back I’m so glad I was the right age to experience this (had just started earning lol) as the variety of music styles targeting the late teens/early 20s market was unbelievable. With that diversity of music came diversity of fashion styles as artists tried to set a new trend every other year. I suppose it is no wonder that so many different style groups were present that day.

      These days the young appear (fashion wise) to be a less diverse group than back then but that may be different in the cities. Or put another way; in the early 70s you knew instantly who to avoid when you saw them coming towards you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you almost need to view the influence our Scottish artists had with the benefit of hindsight – Not as easy when you’re living through “the times”. It all started with Lonnie Donegan they say. I’ve never thought of LD as remotely Scottish and now I see why – He moved to East Ham with his family aged 2!

        LPs were just fantastic weren’t they – I still have most of mine and recently bought a new turntable to play them on. Not quite the same though. Amazing how we can have 1000s of tracks now stored digitally but none of them nearly as well-loved as that brand new LP saved up for and finally purchased.

        Liked by 1 person

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