The annual Motorhead European tour took a bit of a tumble last year with its cancellation due to Lemmy's health issues. This year they have opted for fewer shows, sacrificing the smaller venues for arenas amid muttering from diehard fans. SoT caught the gig at the British home of Heavy Metal, Birmingham.
Having missed The Bosshoss at Download Festival in June I was keen to catch their show after reports from other people who were mighty impressed. The Bosshoss need a BIG stage, with around ten members including a full horn section, guitarists, two vocalists and whoever else they can shoehorn into the band; they certainly fill every available inch of the stage. Describing themselves as Country Trash Punk Rock, the band is welcomed with a mixture of appreciation and scepticism. With Stetson hats on heads and cow skulls decorating the stage these leather clad Berliners talk the talk, their sound is big and varied and I can see why they were chosen for this tour. A short set by their standards they made the most of it, covering the stage, pulling the rock star poses which soon turned scepticism into appreciation. Ending with a cover of 'Cameo's' 'Word Up' The Bosshoss made the NIA into a sun drenched dancing dustbowl.
The Damned are no strangers to touring with Motorhead, almost an institution themselves these punks have aged (dis)gracefully. Captain Sensible with his choppy riffs wearing a distinctive slogan emblazoned jacket is in fine fettle. Frontman David Vanian is his usual very dapper self, looking more lawyer than punk but who cares? Their brand of punk/goth has aged well which shows from the crowd reaction the moment they take to the stage. My first experience of The Damned seems to have converted me to their excellent live set, full of energy and urgency you can see why people are drawn into their time bending 70's ideology.
'We are Motorhead and we play Rock 'N Fuckin' Roll'….Howls Lemmy down the mic. From the first bowel moving twang of the unmistakable Rickenbacker bass the crowd goes crazy. After a shaky appearance at Hyde Park this summer, Lemmy must feel all eyes are on him wishing for a return to form. As you'd expect the volume is at eardrum bursting levels, the first signs are good, the band seem to be getting on with business. For a man of his age and previous excesses in life Lemmy seems to be coping well, a few instances of instability are expected but nothing short of death will put a legend like Lemmy down. One criticism is the slightly predictable set list but you can't please everybody, Phil Campbell is stunning, a truly underrated guitarist whilst Micky Dee is as solid as ever. If seeing these guys weren't reward in itself things were about to get a whole lot more rewarding. Enter stage left Fast Eddie Clarke and Philthy Animal Taylor, whilst Fast Eddie joined the band for 'Ace of Spades', once again making Motorhead a four piece Taylor was happy to stand by as an onlooker.
Things may have slowed down for Lemmy & Motorhead the past twelve months but rest assured, as long as there's blood pumping in the old buggers veins we will still see Motorhead tear up venues each year until the day the reaper gets past backstage security.
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