Motorhead have been playing rock and roll for more than 30 years and they're still awesome. They still put on a clinic of just what a hard, heavy, tight, fast band should sound like. They played at Luna Park in Sydney and they blew the lid off the place. It's generally a very good venue, if you discount the hideous bass trap in the back and make sure you get out into the main area, but there were sound issues last night. It's a shame, because the first few tracks were a bit lost in a muddy haze of sound that the engineer was clearly grappling with for some time. One day someone will work out how to account for the thousands of bodies that change all the settings the empty house soundcheck establishes. In the meantime, we'll have to put up with it. By the fifth track, Rock Out, things started to get sorted.
There also seemed to be a bit of a lacklustre mood among Lemmy and Phil Campbell at the start. They kinda stumbled around a bit, half-heartedly doing a set piece movement that didn't really work so they gave up on it. Mickey Dee behind his kit was his usual energised self, though, and he kept standing up, geeing the crowd along and by a few songs in all three of them seemed to have found their groove. Then again, Lemmy is 66 years old, so you can forgive the man for taking a while to warm up. Most people his age groan when they have to get up out of an armchair after watching A Current Affair.
The presence of Motorhead, regardless of them taking a while to warm up, is impressive. Mickey Dee was up on the highest drum riser I've ever seen, almost like he was mounted on top of the wall of Marshall amps. That wall of sound, fuller and fatter from three guys than some bands with twice the numbers, is never boring. Motorhead are tighter than a virgin mosquito's chuff, never a single note out of time. They pound along like the well oiled machine they are and never disappoint.
Phil Campbell's solo moment about halfway through was awesome, a spotlit atmospheric display of quality guitar playing. He didn't just rip and thrash away, but showcased his considerable talent with an understated and almost haunting piece that was one of the highlights of the show for me. Mickey Dee's drum solo was another example of the talent of these musicians. Mickey is without doubt one of the greatest drummers playing today and his solo was an example of what can be done with just a drum kit.
They played their set at full bore and finished, as usual, with Ace Of Spades. The stage went dark and people started pounding and shouting for an encore. After a couple of minutes Lemmy came back out with a hand to his ear. "Do you want more? I'm deaf, remember?!"
Of course we fucking wanted more. So they played Overkill and that was by far the prominent moment. They ripped the shit out of that track and left the crowd surging. I've never heard that track performed better, I don't think.
I will never tire of seeing Motorhead live. Still, after all this time, they're brilliant and will always be one of my favourite bands. Three old dudes, a couple of smokestacks, a wall of Marshalls and a bloody great banner. The rest is rock and roll.