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Motörhead: No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith Box Set

I live outside of Salt Lake City and I remember when Motörhead was scheduled to come through town on August 27, 2015. The tour was celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary and it definitely promised to be a loud and an unforgettable night. Since I had never seen Motörhead in concert, I was hoping to attend, but I was unfortunately not able to do so. As it turns out, the night was memorable for the fans there, but not in the way they expected. Due to Lemmy’s breathing problems, the band had to cut the evening short. Lemmy was able to carry on witwh with some of the tour dates through November of that year but his health was declining. He died on December 28, 2015.

Motörhead celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ace of Spades in 2020 and is marking the 40th anniversary of No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith with this release. It goes without saying that this release was a major event for the band. This was the peak of the band’s Classic Era and everyone should hear the band’s original lineup of Lemmy, Phil Taylor, and “Fast” Eddie Clarke. That band gave listeners a handful of essential albums and then they released this killer live album that showed off just what the band did best, which was to play live shows.

The box set comes with several features, including a remastered copy of No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith that also includes bonus tracks and newly discovered soundcheck recordings. It also includes complete recordings of three other concerts that took place at the end of March, 1981. Since those concerts provided the material for No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, it’s kind of fun to compare the different versions from night to night.

The box set also includes a story of the album and new interviews with people who were on the road at that time. It also comes with a 1981 European tour badge, a reproduction of a Newcastle City Hall ticket, a Port Vale gig flyer post card, a Motörhead “England” plectrum, a reproduced USA 1981 tour pass, concert posters from 1981, and never before seen photos. Ideally, I would unbox all of this for you on video so you can see everything. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit of stuff here and fans of the band will probably want to get their hands on it.

My own memories of Motörhead go back a long time. I would listen to them for hours through my Walkman and I loved the band’s sound so much. I also remember seeing them on The Young Ones and thinking that Lemmy’s stage presence was so cool. I loved the way he put the microphone slightly above where you’d expect it to be. “Ace of Spades” is a perfect hard rock song and I never get tired of hearing it. As I write this, I have the clip from The Young Ones playing on YouTube. Good stuff.

As for the four concerts featured here, what can I say? There are 65 tracks of Motörhead playing at a key moment in their career. While I’m sure some people would say that’s just too much Motörhead, I’d suggest they are missing the point. This is a band to savor over a long time. They epitomize a certain kind of hard rock and they played it to perfection. Some people fought against Lemmy’s insistence that Motörhead wasn’t a metal band, but maybe it’s just time to put all that to rest. They were Motörhead, and that’s enough.

No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith charted better than any of the band’s other albums and it perfectly captures the excitement surrounding Motörhead at the time. While I’m sure some fans prefer different eras of the band’s history, there’s no denying that 1981 was a great year for these guys. The album sounds great, and the Classic Era songs hold up beautifully. The sound check recordings are well worth discovering, too. I especially liked the soundcheck version of “Stay Clean.”

Track Listing: No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith
1. Ace of Spades
2. Stay Clean
3. Metropolis
4. The Hammer
5. Iron Horse
6. No Class
7. Overkill
8. (We Are) The Roadcrew
9. Capricorn
10. Bomber
11. Motörhead
12. Over the Top
13. Train Kept A Rollin’
14. Stay Clean (Soundcheck)
15. Limb From Limb (Soundcheck)
16. Iron Horse (Soundcheck)

Track Listing: Live at Leeds Queens Hall, March 28, 1981
1. Ace of Spades
2. Stay Clean
3. Over the Top
4. Metropolis
5. Shoot You in the Back
6. The Hammer
7. Jailbait
8. Leaving Here
9. Fire Fire
10. Capricorn
11. Too Late Too Late
12. No Class
13. (We Are) The Roadcrew
14. Bite the Bullet
15. The Chase is Better than the Catch
16. Overkill
17. Bomber
18. Motörhead

Track Listing: Live at Newcastle City Hall, March 29, 1981
1. Ace of Spades
2. Stay Clean
3. Over the Top
4. Metropolis
5. Shoot You in the Back
6. The Hammer
7. Jailbait
8. Leaving Here
9. Fire Fire
10. Capricorn
11. Too Late Too Late
12. No Class
13. (We Are) The Roadcrew
14. Bite the Bullet
15. The Chase is Better than the Catch
16. Overkill
17. Bomber
18. Motörhead

Track Listing: Live at Newcastle City Hall, March 30, 1981
1. Ace of Spades
2. Stay Clean
3. Over the Top
4. Metropolis
5. Shoot You in the Back
6. The Hammer
7. Jailbait
8. Leaving Here
9. Iron Horse
10. Fire Fire
11. Capricorn
12. Too Late Too Late
13. No Class
14. (We Are) The Roadcrew
15. Bite the Bullet
16. The Chase is Better than the Catch
17. Overkill
18. Bomber
19. Motörhead

Added: July 10th 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 577
Language: english

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