AC/DC: Hammersmith Odeon, London

THE EMCEE only just ducks into the wings and out of the firing range when the Odeon stage explodes deafeningly. Bruised about the head, their breath stolen by the sheer impact of noise, the security men are caught off-guard and trampled to the floor as the audience immediately besiege the front.

And then this schoolboy brat up on the rostrum smirks maliciously as his opening power chord painfully rattles through our bonces and makes the unnecessary triumphant gesture of wildly tossing his cap to the floor, as if to say: this is our day!

The day, Gawd ‘elp us all, AC/DC conquered London.

And here he is, a runt of a schoolkid ducking and weaving about the stage menacingly, like one of the hunters from Golding’s Lord Of The Flies, lashing into his guitar and fronting a band that in eight months has come from being totally unknown to headlining their own national tour.

Quick ascension provokes critical dissension, right?

Wrong. Any band who can achieve what this Aussie outfit have in so short a time on ability would get my wholehearted support.

Trouble is, this bunch of delinquents have only an elementary musical knowledge, write pitifully trite songs, and to compensate they come on vulgar, crass and loud.

If the Heavy Metal Heroes of yesterday are now out of public favour, or living off their Swiss bank accounts, then AC/DC are the new breed. So their appeal and success depends on one basic requirement: that they should play what they so aptly describe themselves as “High Voltage Rock’n’Roll”.

But they’re bad enough to make you search out Deep Purple albums.

Guitarist Malcolm Young, bassist Mark Evans, and drummer Phil Rudd you can immediately dismiss as the anchor men who hold down the two (maybe three, if you’re feeling generous) riffs played all night — because the real action comes from the Electric Schoolboy Kangaroo (a.k.a. Angus Young) and the singer Bon Scott, who’s all muscle, mouth and bulging trousers.

These two at least provide a visual spectacular, with Scott strutting his tattoos and hollering agonisingly into the mike — while the brat, wearing his blazer, shorts and satchel, skips around the stage, occasionally faking the sexual ambivalence their name suggests by making for his companion’s only attribute which is packed quite firmly into his pants, with his mouth.

Of course, the material reflects this same vulgar hook, being sometimes about the dangers of VD, but more often about Balls: ‘She’s Got Balls’, ‘I’ve Got Balls’, or what a lot of…

But despite their limited ability, with Angus Young tossing in every lead cliché he’s ever heard and taking at least a minute before making Them’s old classic ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ recognisable, they do have an inexhaustible source of energy and serve on a platter exactly what this audience demands.

I haven’t had such a good laugh for weeks.

© Tony StewartNew Musical Express, 20 November 1976

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