[published]: 1984, August 18
[in]: (Toronto) Globe and Mail, p. E7
[article]: Heavy metal groups blow up a hurricane
[by]: Matthew Fraser

ONE THING to be said for heavy metal is that, although various styles of rock music have gone in and out of vogue over the past decade or so - psychedelic, progressive, disco, punk, electropop - it has been blasting away and has always found a large audience. The Heavy Metal Hurricane at the Grandstand last night found an audience of nearly 20,000 heavy metal fans who head-banged and fist-pumped their way through a six-hour metal fest featuring Helix, Kick Axe, Quiet Riot and The Scorpions.

Hurricane is a perfect image for heavy metal music, and it is used frequently. For example, the line "I've got a hurricane coming" is in Quiet Riot's Run For Cover, and a Scorpions hit is called Rock You Like A Hurricane. Hurricanes destroy everything in sight, and heavy metal music has similar ambitions. It's not mere rebellion; it's seething nihilism.

Neither Helix's or Kick Axe's sets wreaked much havoc at the Grandstand last night, however, but it seemed to be partly because it was still sunny and hot and a lot of the audience was still streaming into the outdoor venue. The show got going, though, when Quiet Riot charged onto the stage and thrashed their way through an hour-long set during which singer Kevin Dubrow frequently yelled: "I want you to scream until your throats bleed." The set featured Quiet Riot's Slade covers, Cum On Feel The Noize and Mama We're All Crazy Now, but Dubrow's Noddy Holder imitation lacked the gravelly power of Holder's voice on the Slade records and during the Slade shows at the Gardens about 10 years ago. All in all, Quiet Riot's set was a gaudy display of showmanship that could well be included in the satirical rock film, This Is Spinal Tap, and the group insisted on doing an encore despite the fact that no one called out for one.

Indeed, the audience was clearly impatient for the appearance of the Scorpions, and what an appearance it was. The light show, centred on drummer Hareman Rarebell's drum kit, perched up on a column like a flying saucer, was reminiscent of Pink Floyd's shows 10 years ago (metal fans apparently like Floyd) and the German group's show was a thrust-and-thrash marathon - featuring a lot of songs from the recent album, Love at First Sting - with singer Klaus Meine, dressed in black leather, firmly in control of the audience, which followed his every instruction like a mesmerized organic mass.

The Scorpions, heavy metal's panzer force, have been around for a long time but have been successful mainly in their native Germany and Japan (where any form of metal does well). From the response the group got last night, though, it looks like they have finally arrived at the zenith of heavy metal stardom. That won't impress certain tastes, but the Scorpions will no doubt be blistering away when electropop gives way to some other fad.