Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Bon Scott's 62nd Birthday Tribute
In honor of Bon Scott's sixty-second birthday anniversary, I've decided to post a classic review of one of the band's early appearances at the world famous Hammersmith Odeon.
Though Clive Bennett is obviously not partial to their music, I think he perfectly captures the essence of what true fans love about AC/DC.
AC/DC HAMMERSMITH ODEON - BY CLIVE BENNETT
AC/DC (the allusion is to electrical energy not sexual ambivalence) are representative of a number of bands who place greater importance on generating frenzy than creating inventive music. Since they arrived from Australia seven months ago, they have established quite a following, not enough to sell out the Odeon but nevertheless wildly enthusiastic.
The group, a quintet, aim unashamedly at the teenage market. The youngest, Angus Young, the guitarist, wears shorts, school blazer and satchel and moves like a manic marionette. Their lead singer, Bon Scott, cannot emulate that but, stripped to the waist, pounds about the platform exercising his lungs and the equipment to the full.
Most of the songs are about conventionally taboo aspects of sex and genitalia. Their lyrics, which occasionally offer a glimmer of wit, deliberately employ the crudest and most direct language. Just as their elders like shouting rugby songs, so the teeny-boppers and not so teeny-boppers last night relished the communal chance to yell dirty words during the choruses.
My objections are to their music, not their words, which simply express without inhibitions what most of us have discussed innumerable times in private. Music of any sort must surely require more from performers than just the capacity to mindlessly bash their instruments into oblivion. It is this primeval state that AC/DC currently exist.
London Times, November 11, 1976
I submit to you that "primeval" is one of the best words you can use to portray what it's like to see AC/DC tear up the stage. Particularly during the raucous years when Bon Scott prowled concert halls like a fighting-cock on display in a show ring.
And what better way to describe Angus Young than as a "manic marionette?" Indeed, the man is possessed with a rocking fury; as if the Gods of Rock control him themselves just to amaze and amuse all that worship them.
However, there's nothing mindless about AC/DC, as most of us know. In their own way, they've perfected the art form known as "rock-n-roll" which is no easy task when you consider the millions of supposedly more intelligent bands that have tried and failed to do the same.
Bon Scott was the catalyst, the lightning in a bottle that brought AC/DC into focus and made them great. Twenty-eight years after his tragic death, I've yet to hear anyone who comes even close to touching his live performances. Brian Johnson, a worthy successor, has done a tremendous job though, and I, for one, can't begin to thank him enough for contributing all his talent and sheer guts to the best band in the world.
Thankfully, Angus, Malcolm and company carried on when they could have called it a day when Bon passed from this life. Even if you dislike AC/DC's music, you cannot deny that they are a shining example of perseverance. A good lesson for all of us that have loved and lost...
In my mind, Bon Scott's soul never departed from the band. I've no doubt that will be proved once again when AC/DC's new album hits the store shelves any day now.
R.I.P. Bon Scott
July 9, 1946 - February 19, 1980