Friday, 3 October 2014

Heavy Metal at the Laing ?

All That is Solid Melts into Air . . . is the title of the current exhibition at the Laing Gallery in Newcastle (by Jeremy Deller) which I had a look at last week. It's all to do with the industrial revolution and the effect on culture, with images and objects from the latter part of the 20th century combined with those of the 19th, and thought it worth a mention as it's the first time I've seen my heavy metal heroes Judas Priest represented in an exhibition at the Laing (or anywhere for that matter), with the sleeve of their 1979 live album 'Unleashed in the East' adorning the wall as a way of representing the studs and leather look which developed along with heavy rock music from the steel towns of the black country in the 60s and 70s.

Great live album . . . brings back memories

Also hidden among the photographs, objects and cultural icons was the tale of how Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame lost part of two fingers in an industrial accident, which forced him to alter the sound of his guitar to dull the vibrations, and led to the distinct metal sound of Sabbath.

Tony Iommi . . . with false fingertips
Last but certainly not least covering the West Midlands music scene is a large-scale family tree scrawled on one wall tracing back the working class roots of Neville John Holder, better known as Noddy to Slade fans (my first fave band back in those heady days of glam-rock).

Neville John Holder . . . in more recognisable pose.
All in all quite an enjoyable display, though whether it is strictly speaking art or merely an interesting history lesson I'm not sure. More memorable than the previous Turner/Constable exhibition though, which by all accounts failed to live up to the hype considering the entrance fee.

All That is Solid . . runs until October 26th at the Laing Gallery (free entry)