AC/DC: Wembley Arena, London

BRILLIANT, brilliant, f***ing brilliant!!! Ignore all those bands you read about in Sidelines: if you don’t love AC/DC, you don’t like Rock. They’re that fundamental, that primal. When Atlantic get their act together and release a singles collection, you’ll all see what I mean.

“She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean, she was the best damn woman that I’ve ever seen.” They’re a feminist’s nightmare, and they’re the least likely Metal Heroes: an old Northern bloke in a cloth cap and vest wiggling his fat arse about in navy blue denim and a sweaty, white-torsoed long-haired creep duck-walking about in a school uniform… they ought to be at a pervert’s convention in a shed outside Adelaide, but instead they’re playing to a barnful of adoring Londoners.

So what am I doing here? I’m far too pretty, for a start… Coming late to AC/DC via The Cult’s Electric, I sensed that here is one of Rock’s uncompromising extremes: a useful extension of a certain lineage, and closer than most to the lifeblood of all we hold dear.

The stage-set is appropriately minimal, but AC/DC go for the odd monumental gesture (like banknotes raining down, a giant bell lowered into the crowd). They’re opposite the excess you associate with HM (and they were there a decade before Anthrax and Metallica).

This is Rock stripped to its bare essentials: every riff shorn to just-what-it-takes-to-move-your-hips. AC/DC’s trick is to pump up the treble. Young’s stop-start Keith Richards-isms are sharper than a broken bottle in the face, and Brian Johnson’s strained, veiny-necked whine is one of the strangest sounds in rock: as animalistic as Black Francis, as insatiably brattish as Perry Farrell, but more wickedly suggestive than both.

“Gonna blow up my video… tell the boss man where to go.” Rewrite the history books NOW. That’s the way I wanna rock’n’roll…

© SimonSimon PriceMelody Maker, 4 May 1991

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