After recently seeing off Mr Grim Reaper, Motörhead main man Lemmy Kilmister could be forgiven for wanting to curl up on a rocking chair and mainline Werther’s Originals. Instead, quite possibly against all medical advice, he got back on the road and is playing some pretty ambitiously sized venues on this latest tour, notably Brum’s NIA (bigger venues, fewer gigs…it makes sense). Frankly the noise they make would be enough to fill a dozen NIAs though.
From the addictively riffy wild west (Midlands) rock out of Shoot You In The Back, Lemmy and co. do more for hearing aid sales than anyone else in metal. It’s loud, it’s hard…it’s…well…it’s f****** awesome really. Mikkey Dee drums like a man on a mission to spontaneously combust (he actually succeeds in stopping the show twice by destroying bits of his kit) whilst bandmate Phil Campbell prowls the stage cranking out one killer riff after another. At the heart of it all, eyes to the sky as ever, Lemmy grunts out the lyrics as hundreds of denim and leather clad fans worship at the mole-ter.
The voice is rougher than ever, a lifetime of Marlborough Reds and Jack D will do that, but given that many of the songs are all about overdoing it you really wouldn’t want it any other way. Tearing tracks from albums old and new the entire set’s a lesson in how to rock ‘til you drop (and you get the impression that’s just how Lemmy will finally check out one day) with highlights Damage Case, Doctor Rock and Killed By Death (the last two featuring truly mind blowing drum solos) getting a small but enthusiastic moshpit going.
Ace Of Spades, which sees the trio joined by ex member “Fast” Eddie Clarke (Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor is also in attendance) will always be their killer track though and tonight it seems to take on a new meaning.
At nearly 70 and with a dodgy ticker surely Lemmy’s literally gambling with his life at every gig now but, as the lyrics go ‘The pleasure is to play’. And to watch, Mr Kilmister…and to watch.
Words: Daron Billings