Motorhead, Anthrax, Diaries Of A Hero – Solent Hall, Bournemouth, 15th November 2012
Words by Nicholas Holmes
Photos by Tess Donohoe www.tessdonohoe.com
At a time when even long established metal media seem inclined to push floppy-fringed, full-body-inked formulaic screamo/deathcore (whatever the fuck that means) at their readership, it is heartening to note that the kids are not all taken in by such bollocks.
Motorhead have never fitted in. Anywhere. Lemmy stands by the mantra of being “rock n’ roll”, never identifying his band as heavy metal. His audience has always comprised a motley crew of punks, crusties, metal-heads, thrashers and others. Over the years, the cult of Kilmister has grown to the point where three generations of families attend his gigs. Granddad who’s the same age as the gruff-voiced frontman (shortly to turn 67) and was there at the start, Dad who grew up hearing his father’s “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” LP on the decks and now his own offspring, with “Ace of Spades” on their iPod.
Speaking of the younger generation, London four-piece Diaries Of A Hero opened the show and immediately it was noticeable they seemed a bit out of place. While there is audible hardcore influence in their material, the mix of heavy breakdowns and strained clean vocals failed to attract much interest. The bar was rammed throughout their short set. They would be perfect in a mid-afternoon slot at the likes of Download Festival or Reading/Leeds, but were an odd choice on a bill with two classic bands. If this was an attempt to appeal to a younger audience, it wasn’t necessary.
The kids were not just here to see the headliners. A good number were staying up late on a school night and sporting outsized Anthrax T-shirts to see the first ever Bournemouth show by one of The Big Four. With Charlie Benante on leave to deal with domestic issues, ex-Slayer/Testament drummer Jon Dette stood in. The New Yorkers ripped through a fast and furious set, featuring classics “Caught In A Mosh”, “Indians” and a frenzied “Madhouse” along with newer material including zombie killing ode “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t!”. Joey Belladonna was in great form vocally and physically, barely standing still for a second. The rest of the band were loving it too, head-banging furiously with massive grins. The audience responded in kind, with fists aloft chanting along to all of Belladonna’s calls. Closing with “I Am The Law”, Scott Ian paused to say “Thanks for breaking our Bournemouth cherry! Long live rock n’ roll!” Long live Anthrax too.
Motorhead are no virgins to playing the seaside town notorious as a place where folk retire to await the reaper’s visit, and they opened with possibly a tongue-in-cheek title, “I Know How To Die” from their most recent album “The World Is Yours”. The trio of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee played a set leaning heavily on classics. “Damage Case” and “Stay Clean” from 1979’s “Overkill” whizz by as well as infectiously catchy “Dr Rock” from “Orgasmatron”. Then latter day greats from “1916”, “The One To Sing The Blues” and tales of mid-air mischief in “Going To Brazil”. There were pauses for Lemmy to go for a piss/have a sit down/neck a cuppa when long-serving guitarist Campbell played an almost Pink Floyd-style solo. Drummer Dee also had a chance to show off on his ludicrously huge kit, and resembled The Muppet’s Animal having a seizure as his blond mop of hair flew in a whirl. The set closed with the double whammy of a mighty “Killed By Death” and the inevitable. Lemmy introduced it as a “country and western song,” and mobile phones filled the air to catch THAT tune. “Ace of Spades” of course.
Emphasizing the nostalgic feel, the encore began with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Are You Ready?” which Lemmy declared to be “one of the great riffs of all time”. He even sounded a bit sentimental when he thanked the audience, saying “We couldn’t ask for a better crowd. Don’t forget us, guys. We are Motorhead and we play rock n’ roll!” The band ended the night with one of their own greatest riffs. The insistent “Overkill” complete with elongated impressive guitar work from Campbell and numerous is-that-the-end-no-not-quite bursts left everybody with shit-eating grins.
These days the air of danger has certainly waned and they may not even play as loud as they used to, but there is no doubt Motorhead continue to be a sort of national treasure. Their annual pre-Christmas tour is almost as predictable as Status Quo’s and there is clearly still a big appetite for their own particular brand of racket. As the crowd filed out into the chilly seaside air a young lad said to his Dad,“I want be like Lemmy when I’m old!” Don’t we all?
Motorhead will play Download Festival 2013. More details and tickets, including a deposit scheme, are at:
Motorhead official website: http://www.imotorhead.com/
Anthrax will play Bloodstock Festival 2013. More details and tickets from only £100 for the whole weekend are at:
Anthrax official website: http://anthrax.com/
Diaries Of A Hero official website: http://www.diariesofahero.com/
Venue information: www.bic.co.uk