Archive for the ‘Motorhead’ Category

Black Star Riders Newcastle City Hall 24 February 2023

blacktixSometime in 1971. Sunderland Locarno upstairs bar. I see a tall black guy in the corner of the bar and wonder who he is. I go up and have a quick chat. An hour or so later the band take the stage and the same tall black guy is fronting them. They are called Thin Lizzy and are pretty good too! The black guy is, of course, Phil Lynott. I am 14, Phil is 21.

whiskey1973 and I’m watching Top of the Pops. Thin Lizzy appear, playing “Whiskey in the Jar” which is in the chart at the time. I go out and buy the single.

1975 – late 1970s. The Lizzy, with a new line – up featuring twin lead guitars, one of whom has really cool, long, blonde hair and is an American called Scott Gorham become absolutely massive. I see them many times at Newcastle City Hall and headlining the Reading Festival. They are an absolutely first class live band. “The Boys Are Back in Town” becomes an anthem for us all.

Phil_Lynott_Statue_at_Bruxelles_Dublin 2023Early 1980s. Middlesbrough Town Hall. Quite empty. Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam are appearing. Phil doesn’t look well. His face is bloated. The performance is not very inspiring.

4 January 1986. Phil Lynott passes away. He is 36. The cause is heart failure and drugs. Such a waste.

10 years or so later. I visit Dublin once a month for several years through work. I proudly have my picture taken next to a statue of Phil. Somewhere along the way I lose the photograph. However, I include here an image of the start you courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

black6Early 2000s. Thin Lizzy are headlining Newcastle City Hall again. This new version of the band comprises Scott Gorham, drummer Brian Downey and front man Ricky Warwick, who sounds quite a lot like Phil Lynott. They are surprisingly good and do justice to the Lizzy legacy.

black52012 and Thin Lizzy become Black Star Riders after writing new material and the departure of Brian Downey. Somewhere along the way Scott retires and the band continues. The new material sounds true to the Lizzy style and they continue flying the Lizzy flag high. They have become the natural progression in the next part of the Thin Lizzy saga.

2023 and Black Star Riders are headlining Newcastle City Hall. It is their tenth anniversary tour and Scott has re-joined his bandmates for this tour. Support acts are Michael Monroe (formerly from Hanoi Rocks) and Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons (Phil Campbell was guitarist in Motorhead).

black7We arrived late and Michael Monroe was already on stage climbing up onto the balcony. By the time I said to my carer Jackie “Quick. Take a photo” Michael was hanging down from the balcony and dropping back onto the stage. He was just as I imagined, a manic blonde showman. I never got to see Hanoi Rocks but I can imagine them as a crazy glam punk power rock band. The closing song is Credence Clearwater Revivals’ “Up around the Bend”. I tell my daughter Ashleigh who was a big Hanoi Rocks fan. That’s a Hanoi Rocks song she tells me so I figure they must have recorded it! It gets a great reception from the crowd who probably also think of it as a Hanoi Rocks song rather than a classic by Credence Clearwater Revival. John Fogarty is one of my heroes and one of the best gigs I ever went to was seeing him at Manchester Apollo. But that’s a story from a past blog entry! I buy Ashleigh a signed Michael Monroe CD and she is over the moon with it!

black4After a short wait, at 9:30 PM spot-on time, the Phil Campbell backdrop disappears and is replaced by a very impressive Black Star Riders drop. I suppose I’m amazed how much of a following the band has amassed in its own right. This is not the remnants of Thin Lizzy or a Thin Lizzy tribute band. This is a fully fledged rock band of its own right, led by the very impressive Ricky Warwick who continue the Thin Lizzy legacy in their own way, producing new songs which hark back to Lizzy and yet have a significance of their own. Magical. Phil must be up there proud of how his legacy continues to thrive and move onward and forward.

black3A few songs in and they perform a wild heavy version of the Osmond’s “Crazy Horses”. Well, I always knew it was a heavy rock song! After a few more songs they are joined by Scott Gorham who looks older, and yet cooler and still playing great guitar. His long mane of blonde hair has somehow been transferred to the young guitarist in Black Star Riders. There really is some sort of magic in the air! At one point in the set, they are joined by Phil Campbell and later on Michael Monroe comes on for one song also.

black2A few more songs into the set and we are treated to Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word”. Class; it all takes me back to the 1970s. Towards the end they play “Jailbreak”. One more song and then it is 11 PM and time to go home, content in the knowledge that the legacy of Thin Lizzy remains safe in the hands and voice of Ricky Warwick and the rest of Black Star Riders. You have done a great job Scott, continuing to fly the Lizzy flag and somehow, miraculously, managing to hand it safely over to the Black Star Riders. I wonder what that young 21-year-old Phil I chatted to over 50 years ago would make of it all? Happy days

Setlist: Pay Dirt; Another State of Grace; Better Than Saturday Night; When the Night Comes In; Riding Out the Storm; Wrong Side Of Paradise; Crazy Horses; All Hell Breaks Loose; Bloodshot; Soldierstown; Don’t Believe a Word (with Phil Campbell); Blindsided; The Killer Instinct; Before the War; Testify or Say Goodbye; Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down (with Michael Monroe); Kingdom of the Lost; Bound for Glory; Jailbreak; Finest Hour.

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979readingprog79
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
reading79badgeWe spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing:
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
readingpaper79Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.

Motorhead 1981 & 1982 Newcastle City Hall and 1984 Newcastle Mayfair

Motorhead 1981 & 1982 Newcastle City Hall and 1984 Newcastle Mayfair
motorheaf81 Motorhead continued to be massively popular with rock fans throughout the early 80s, selling out multiple nights at concert halls up and down the country. I saw them live a couple of more times at the City Hall, in 1981 and 1982. Their next album “Iron Fist” was released in 1982 and they toured again to promote it. motorhead82 Their shows continued to be a feast of heavy, loud, fast, high energy rock’n’roll, with front man Lemmy always on good form. But things were soon to fall apart. Fast Eddie left the band in 1983, followed shortly by Phil Taylor. MotorheadIron+FistBy the time I saw Motorhead again at Newcastle Mayfair in 1984, the line-up featured Lemmy, Phil “Wizzö” Campbell and Würzel on guitars, and Pete Gill on drums. Campbell remains with the band to this day. motorhead84 The new line-up put on a good performance at the Mayfair and I enjoyed the gig. But things were not quite the same. It was 26 years until I saw Motorhead again, at the City Hall in 2010. I blogged about that gig at the time. t was great to see them again, and in many ways nothing had changed. Lemmy came on stage and told us: “We are Motorhead and we play Rock and Roll”. Lemmy: “Is it loud enough?” Crowd: “No!!!”. Lemmy: “Then we’ll turn it up. I don’t f***ing care if you go deaf. I’m f***ing deaf already”. Lemmy hasn’t been too well of late, and their 2013 tour has been postponed until 2014. Hope he’s soon better. It’s characters like him that brighten up rock’n’roll. That concludes my memories of Motorhead; tomorrow I’ll move on to other concert memories.

Motorhead Live Newcastle Mayfair October 30th 1980 The Ace of Spades !

Motorhead Live Newcastle Mayfair The Ace of Spades !
MotorheadComicBy 1980 Motorhead had become a massive live attraction, selling out everywhere they played. During the Summer the band headlined “The Over The Top Heavy Metal Brain Damage Party” (great title for a rock concert) at Bingley Hall, Staffordshire. A comic programme, which featured “The Overwhelming Motorhead” in “Rock Commando” was produced especially for (reportedly exclusive) distribution at their Bingley Hall concert. I didn’t attend the gig (at least I don’t think I did, unless perhaps the Heavy Metal Brain Damage really has got to me 🙂 ) but I have a copy of the comic which I must have brought at a later gig, probably at the Mayfair later that year. The comic was written by Klaus Blum with a section from Alan Burridge of Motorheadbangers, and features a great comic strip adventure with our heroes in a futuristic England and France. motormayafir During the Summer of 1980, Motorhead went into the studio again to record the ‘Ace Of Spades’ album, and took it out on tour throughout the UK in the Autumn. This time they called at Newcastle Mayfair, rather than the City Hall. The Mayfair was in fact a much more natural choice of venue for Motorhead. It was a home for heavy rock in the 70s and 80s and their music was much better suited to a packed ballroom. Motorhead filled the Mayfair for two nights that year; motoraceprog I attended the gig on Thursday 30th October, which was the second of the two nights. Support came from NWOBHM band Weapon. I remember being right down the front for this gig. It was absolutely deafening and my ears were ringing for days, which seemed to me to be a badge of honour at the time. The tour was entitled “Ace Up Your Sleeve”. The front cover of the tour programme features a similar image of the band to the “Ace of Spades” lp cover, with Lemmy and the gang looking very sharp and cool, dressed as cowboys. The ‘Arizona desert-style’ pictures were apparently actually taken during a photo session at a sandpit in Barnet! “Ace of Spades” is seen as the definitive Motorhead album, and was their biggest album chart success. These guys were at the height of their powers in the late 70s and early 80s, and were an excellent live act who bridged classic heavy rock, punk and the NWOBHM.

Motorhead Newcastle City Hall and Reading 1979

Motorhead Newcastle City Hall 1979
motormarch79tix1979 was a busy year for Motorhead. Lemmy and crew released two albums, headlined two UK tours, appeared on Top of the Pops, and played at the Reading Festival. The year started with the release of the “Overkill” album, and a March tour of the UK, with support from Girlschool. I saw the Newcastle City Hall gig, which was a great double bill and both bands put in a rocking performance. Come August, and Motorhead were third on the Friday night bill at Reading, sandwiched between performances by Wilko Johnson and The Tourists. The Friday night was headlined by The Police. Motorhead played well and got a great reception from the crowd. Reading that year had a strange line-up, which tried to mix up-and-coming new wave acts with more established rock bands. This caused a split crowd, and lots of can fights. Motorhead were one of the few bands who both camps were “allowed” to like, and this resulted in their performance being one of the successes of the weekend.motorheadnov79tix Motorhead released the “Bomber” album later in the year, and toured again to promote it. This time they had another great rock band of the day, Saxon, as support, and they called at Newcastle City Hall in November. The Bomber tour featured a massive “Bomber” plane lighting rig hanging over the band and going through its manoeuvres while they played. Great stuff. Motorhead were really at the top of their game during this period, and just couldn’t be beaten for a loud, fun night out.
MotorheadBomber A typical setlist from a late 1979 Motorhead gig: Overkill; Stay Clean; No Class; All the Aces; Metropolis; I’ll Be Your Sister; Dead Men Tell No Tales; Keep Us on the Road; Iron Horse/Born to Lose; Stone Dead Forever; Lawman; (I Won’t) Pay Your Price; Poison; Leaving Here; Capricorn; Train Kept A-Rollin’; Bomber. Encore: Limb from Limb; White Line Fever; Motörhead
“Only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud, So good I can’t believe it screaming with the crowd, Don’t sweat it, get it back to you, Overkill, Overkill, Overkill…On your feet you feel the beat, it goes straight to your spine, Shake your head you must be dead if it don’t make you fly, Don’t sweat it, get it back to you, Overkill, Overkill, Overkill.” (Overkill, Motorhead, 1979)

Motorhead Live The Marquee London 1975 and Newcastle City Hall 1978

Motorhead Live The Marquee London 1975 and Newcastle City Hall 1978
motortixFrom day one I was really into the image of Lemmy and Motorhead. The idea of the gun-slinging outsider “louder than anyone else” rock’n’roller appealed to me. I was lucky enough to see the band at one of their first ever gigs, when they played the Marquee Club in London in August 1975. My mate and I were on our way to the Reading Festival, and stopped off in London en route. By chance, Motorhead were playing at the Marquee that night so we went along to see them. Support came from a London band called National Flag, who were quite popular at the time, and were resident band at the Marquee. This was the first Motorhead line-up of Lemmy, ex-Pink Fairies Larry Wallis, and Lucas Fox on drums. Imagine our surprise when we walked into the Marquee club, only to see Lemmy himself playing on the one armed bandit. We had a chat with him, and he advised us on how best to play the bandits. A few years later, I saw Lemmy again in similar circumstances; this time playing a bandit in the bar at Newcastle City Hall. Motorhead were a bit rough that night at the Marquee, but you could see the track that they would be treading. The set consisted of a few new songs, some Pink Fairies (“City Kids” I think), the song “Motorhead” itself, and a couple of classics (“Johnny B Goode”). This initial Motorhead Line-up was short-lived and was soon replaced by the classic grouping of Lemmy on bass and vocals, “Fast Eddie” Clarke on guitar, and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. The next time I saw Motorhead it was the classic line-up and they were on their first major headline tour, which called at Newcastle City Hall. motorprogThat was in 1978, and by then the band had released their first eponymous album. Support came from ex-Pink Fairies Duncan Sanderson’s Lightning Raiders (although I am sure that they were announced as “The Deviants” but I don’t think the late great Mick Farren was there?). The programme from that gig tells me that it’s “All About Being Loud” and “Loud Enough? Christ! It’s like being wired to some gigantic vibrator – not a sound – more of a sensation. Pete Sutton, NME.” “Noise is a big part of Motorhead mania, some fans actually stick their heads in the P.A. bins.” I didn’t quite do the latter, but I did stand right next to the P.A. at a gig at the Mayfair (probably the Bomber tour), which might explain something about the current state of my hearing. Motorhead were a breath of fresh air at the time, accepted by the NWOBHM fraternity and by the punks. I found a setlist from Hammersmith 1978 on the internet. I suspect the City Hall concert featured a similar set: Motörhead; Vibrator; Tear Ya Down; Keep Us on the Road; Leaving Here; I’ll Be Your Sister; Lost Johnny; The Watcher; Damage Case; Iron Horse/Born to Lose; No Class; Louie Louie; Limb from Limb; (I Won’t) Pay Your Price; I’m Your Witch Doctor; Train Kept A-Rollin’; City Kids; White Line Fever. I always liked the raw energy and pure rock’n’roll noise produced by this band, and went on to see them several more times over the next few years. I’ll write a little more about them over the next few days.

Motorhead Newcastle City Hall 10 November 2010

Motorhead Newcastle City Hall 10 November 2010
“We are Motorhead and we play Rock and Roll”
Lemmy: “Is it loud enough?” Crowd: “No!!!”. Lemmy: “Then we’ll turn it up. I don’t f***ing care if you go deaf. I’m f***ing deaf already”
Its been around 25 years since I last saw Lemmy and crew. I thought it was about time I put matters right; plus I managed to score a ticket for £15 on ebay (whoopee!). I’d almost forgotten how great the loud, uncompromising Motorhead experience can be. Not much has changed over the years. The guitarist and drummer are different to last time I saw the band (no Fast Eddie any more), but Lemmy looks pretty much the same and the sound (and volume) hasn’t changed at all. One thing had changed: I didn’t see Lemmy in the bar on the bandit where he could often be found in the late 70s. I enjoyed this much more than I expected. I must remember to go and see Iron Maiden next year!
Setlist: We are Motorhead; Stay clean; Back in line; Metropolis; Rock out; OTT; One night stand; Thousand names; I got mine; Know how to die; Tragedy; Power; Brazil; Killed by death; Bomber; Ace of Spades
Encore: Born to raise; Overkill