Gig review: MOTORHEAD – Manchester Apollo, 4 November 2014

Motorhead - Manchester Apollo, 4 November 2014

“We are Motorhead and we play Rock and F***n’ Roll”- a line I have heard so many times thunder from the PA over the years but none more welcome than tonight. The current tour has been postponed and cancelled twice due to the health issues of the main man himself Lemmy. But we can forgive him that.

There is no one in rock and roll that has been there, done that, drunk that, and taken this, and come out the other end as one of rock’s iconic figures, albeit a bit worse for wear nowadays.

Apart from a few festival appearances over summer he has not toured properly since 2012 and many people thought he would not do again but here we are on the first night of the current tour at one of the UK’s classic rock venues, The Apollo in Manchester.

I must say something about the venue, I have been coming here since 1981 and I cannot remember a gig here or in fact anywhere where the sound quality was as bad, so bad in fact that you could hardly hear Dave Vanian’s vocals (The Damned) at all and the instruments were all muddy and indistinguishable.

A poor performance by either the PA or the sound engineers which thankfully wasn’t matched by the bands as all three tonight played storming sets.

The Boss Hoss - Manchester Apollo, 4 November 2014The first of those was The Bosshoss, I don’t think the crowd knew what to expect when faced with what looked like the makings of a country band with a Mariachis horns section but very soon they got into the Bosshoss swing. In their homeland of Germany they draw huge crowds to their cowboys from hell extravaganza and tonight they are introducing Manchester to it.

It’s big, extravagant, but most of all it’s butt kicking fun; it took the crowd a few songs to get into them as they ran through their set, all from their new album ‘God Loves Cowboys’, ending with a great cover of Cameo’s ‘Word Up’.

I have seen The Damned many times and they never fail to disappoint; it’s quite fitting for them to support Motorhead as when Captain Sensible left the band back in 1978 Lemmy stood in on bass for a time.

Both bands have attracted a lot of punks in their following over the years and despite the poor sound quality a proper old school punk moshpit was formed.  Kicking off with ‘Nasty’ and ‘Disco Man’ and the odd track with Captain Sensible on vocals it was great to witness the pogo-ing mohicans which came to a head when they kicked into ‘Ignite’.

For the casual listener ‘Eloise’ provided a great opportunity for the audience to sing before the set ended with the anarchic ‘Smash It Up’.  In the current pomp and pretentious music scene it’s great to see the old crew showing the new pretenders how to do it properly.

Motorhead - Manchester Apollo, 4 November 2014The room was now rammed full and if you were to listen to the pundits we were in for a mediocre show!  This was as far from the truth as you could get.  Right from the off it was clear that Lemmy was back doing what he does best as they ran through a trio of classic Motorhead songs ‘Shoot In The Back’, ‘Damage Case’ and ‘Metropolis’, Lemmy as ever hardly moving from behind his mic which left space for Phil Campbell to entertain and shred out the riffs.

Surprisingly the only song from the new album was the slower ‘Lost Woman Blues’, strange really as there are so many great songs on the album but when you have a back catalogue like these guys the setlist choice must be near impossible.

Motorhead - Manchester Apollo, 4 November 2014

Throughout the set the drumming from Mikkey Dee was hard and powerful and he got a chance to really show off with a blistering solo including pyros during ‘Doctor Rock’. The set ended with three hard hitting classics: ‘Killed By Death’, ‘Ace Of Spades’ and finally the 1000 mile an hour ‘Overkill’.

The tour some said would not happen had started, and with a huge night and an awesome performance. Yes Lemmy did seem a bit frail and have the occasional crackle in his voice and took a few between track rests behind the Marshall stack but this was a classic Motorhead set perform brilliantly by all the band.

The Bosshoss: Last Day, Bullpower, I Keep On Dancing, Backdoor Man, Stallion Batallion, DGT, Word Up
The Damned: Nasty, Disco Man, Love Song, Second Time Around, Wait For The Blackout, Lively Arts, Silly Kids Games, Ignite, The History of the World (Part 1), Eloise, New Rose, Neat Neat Neat, Smash It Up
Motörhead: ShootYou In The Back, Damage Case, Metropolis, Over The Top, The Chase Is Better Than The Catch, Rock It, Suicide, Lost Woman Blues, Doctor Rock – drum solo, Stay Clean, Just Cos You Got The Power, Going To Brazil, Killed By Death, Ace Of Spades, Overkill

Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley

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More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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