Review by Adam Chambers
Mark Radcliffe in Conversation with Noddy Holder. Harrogate Theatre.
A full house at Harrogate Theatre on Sunday evening bristled with anticipation at the prospect of Mark Radcliffe – respected broadcaster and champion of all things Northern – in conversation with Noddy Holder, Black Country glam rock chieftain and owner of the happiest blood-curdling voice in rock music.
Holder, resplendent and suited in frock coat, waistcoat, turquoise socks and matching suede ankle boots was prompted by questions from Radcliffe that revealed his passion for music and how it all began.
From working-class roots in post-war Walsall, Holder’s life in music, film and television was played out through archive film and TV material, some snatches of live performance and of course, priceless stories from the man himself.
Holder’s journey began at the age of seven playing guitar at a Sunday lunchtime spot at the local club his Dad frequented; from that day he knew he wanted to be on stage, playing the guitar and singing his heart out.
The influence of American Rock ‘n’ Roll music sparked and fuelled his ambition and stories unfolded of his adventures with early bands ‘The Rockin’ Phantoms’ and ‘The Memphis Cut-Outs’ and eventually ‘Ambrose Slade’ that later were shaved down, haircuts too, to just ‘Slade’.
We hear how Noddy’s trade-mark mirror laden top hat was purchased in the early 1970s from London’s Kensington Antique Market, and sold to him by a young and star-struck Freddie Mercury, not far off the big time himself of course.
Throughout the evening Noddy treats us to a few verses of some of the key songs in Slade’s career and we discover that the Christmas song that became bigger than Christmas itself started life in 1967 as his own contribution to the Summer of Love with dreamy. hippy images of rocking chairs, looking glasses and love and peace.
Radcliffe was an excellent interviewer, pithy and sharp witted and brought out the very best in his guest and engaged the audience.
The evening concludes with a questions and answers session that ask will Noddy ever appear on a jungle/ballroom/ice rink based TV show?
Will Slade reform? After over 45 years in the business Noddy indicated that his priority was to enjoy himself and his family so let’s hope he keeps that promise.
An excellent evening not short of laughter, music and memories; congratulations to Harrogate Theatre for letting us stay out late on a school night to meet Noddy Holder, MBE, legend.