“If you make enough noise we’ll come back. You know how it works”. says Lemmy before the inevitable pre-encore run through of the band’s biggest hit “Ace of Spades”. The crowd definitely knows how it works. Motorhead’s UK winter tour has become a staple of live British Rock music. They’ve been stopping off for shows at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall since a time before their tour bus even had Sat Nav. Many in the audience are returning faces, from the diehard Motorheadbangers to those just wanting to get a glimpse of a legendary band in person. All the returning fans expect the same sort of set-list, with the staple hits and favourites staying in the same slots, sometime featuring extended solo’s (in the old school centre stage spotlight sense) from guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee. Odd deeper cuts are traded out every year, but on this tour a set-list mix-up seems to be a main priority. After Lemmy says something with the audible clarity of a train announcement about “a few surprises” they launch into “Sacrifice”. The title track from the 1995 album, their last as a four piece. It’s a bold choice for an opener, a loud double bass infused statement that says: this year things are going to be different.

But the rarer live cuts didn’t come as fast and as furious as the run-throughs of Overkill’s “Damage Case”, “Stay Clean” and “Metropolis” were. The loose ascending bass solo of “Stay Clean”, surprisingly, was not played on Lemmy’s trademark Rickenbacker. Which he didn’t touch all night, opting for a Gibson SG bass instead. Whilst being loud in the mix, his gravelly and coarse growl remained somehow indecipherable. The band are famed for their volume, and despite the three piece forming this same sonic assault, some problems with Mikkey Dee’s drum sound held the barrage back from its full effect. The problems repeatedly paused the band’s momentum during the first half of the set as Mikkey tried to solve the issues, the attempts were eventually abandoned. He still hit with awe inspiring speed and power, but seemed to lack confidence in his drum sound for the remainder of the night. His snare sounded overly metallic and hollow and he struggled to earn the “best drummer in the world” title that Lemmy introduces him with every night.

New set-list alterations came with the live debut of “Rock It” from their 1983 album Another Perfect Day, and the almost parody-bluesy “You Better Run” which uses the same blues riff as “Bad to the Bone” which is name-checked in the lyrics. “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch” a slightly less frequently played cut from Ace of Spades made an appearance, with an earth and hip shaking bass breakdown. The final three songs of the main set were all live staples and crowd favourites, and Lemmy’s introduction of the first track (“this is a rock song”) can apply to any of the songs in  the 123 of “Going to Brazil”, “Killed by Death” and “Ace of Spades”.

The grinding heavy machinery crush of “Orgasmatron” opens the encores, the band lit only by green spotlights as they stomp through its steely crunch. They finish with their eternal closer “Overkill”, the multiple stacked frantic crash endings ongoing until Lemmy machine guns his bass towards the crowd and leaves it against the speakers, the feedback looping and screaming as the band take their bows. Even with the new additions the set feels like the same dirty rock and roll set that comes rolling into Wolverhampton every year. Their loud and fast rock and roll remaining enjoyable, even to those who haven’t heard the deeper cuts before. It’s not revolutionary, but we’ll all be back next year.

3/5

Advertisements