Live Review: Motorhead, Leeds University, 9th March, 1990

Photo: John Mather
Motorhead  are are firmly established as UK Legends, and have been for many years. The pioneers of British thrash, dare I say;  Lemmy's gruff vocals unmistakable to anyone. Ace of Spades --  the song guaranteed to get most heavy rock fans going -- but tonight, on the second night of a lowkey tour, Motorhead aren't playing many classics. But the headbangers down the front don't seem to mind.

The sound for the gig’s first half seemed to be a blur of rhythm and drums, courtesy of Phil Campbell and Phil Taylor. But where was the bass? Around Lemmy's waist, of course,  not that I could hear it! I'm afraid the mix wasn't too kind to Lemmy, as even when he started to sing on So You Wanna Rock n’ Roll it was incoherent to all but the back rows. 

When things started to settle down, the group kicked into overdrive., achieving breakneck pace on every song. Lemmy pulls hard on his bass strings, the power surging from the PA, almost visibly. He spat out the lyrics from his gravelly throat,  barely keeping above the instruments. 

They played a few songs that will be on the next album. One of which was No Voices in the Sky, and surprisingly it had a good riff,  not just a wall of noise,  with the lead guitar wailing high above the hammering rhythm. 

Metropolis was a deafening  instrumental with all the band work in at creating a powerful and complex song. While Phil Campbell and Wurzel may not be brilliant and don't play a thousand notes a second,  they nevertheless provide the solid heavy chords unique to the Motorhead sound. 

Of course a few favorites were missed out, like Overkill and Bomber, but they still encored with Ace of Spades

Motorhead are a cult band and extremely loud. Their music has long since passed its sell-by date, being replaced by the current crop of thrash bands that have inherited the 80s. I, for one,  I'm not surprised.

Julie Wilby
Riff Raff
May, 1990
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