Motörhead at Wembley ArenaCultureMusicLive music
Motörhead’s line up since its creation in 1975 may have changed many times, but they are still doing a good job of clinging onto the title of “loudest band in the world”. The heavy metal band took to London’s Wembley Arena for one night only.
There is no messing around as Motörhead launch into Shoot You in the Back from 1980 album Ace of Spades: glorious rock ‘n’ roll with a galloping beat that conjures up the Western movie hero to which the song pays homage. Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister’s gravelly, smoke-and-whiskey voice is sparse on this one, merely a preview as he eases into later songs. His stance remains strong and still throughout, a stark contrast to the physical energy of Mikkey Dee and Phil “Wizzö” Campbell.
Campbell’s finger-flying guitar work has its moment in each song, before taking the limelight (while literally bathed in green spotlights) for a guitar solo. It is a yearning, other-worldly number leading into a repeated riff that teases and builds, then finally dwindles and reverberates to end.
Suicide, with its infectious, pounding riff, is punctuated with hellish red and white strobes. “Expect no quarter, no reprieve – we writhe and grin in our own blood,” Lemmy barks, while the mosh pit before him heaves. It is Dee’s moment as Doctor Rock climaxes with a frantic drum solo, no more than a blur of peroxide hair. It builds to bicep-aching speed, then slows dramatically before he launches his sticks into the air. There is rapturous applause and explosions of smoke on either side of the stage, before Dee launches back in, finishing with a triumphant flourish.
“Now we have a slow one for ya,” Lemmy informs the amped up crowd, “it’s about politicians, since they’re slow enough. It’s called Just ‘Cos You Got the Power (That Don’t Mean You Got the Right).” Angry and intense, driven by Dee’s heavy beats and Campbell’s increasingly chaotic guitar, it throws bile at “slimy lizards in expensive suits”.
The well loved classics Killed by Death and Ace of Spades round off the show with a thrilling, up-tempo energy. Seated fans get to their feet for a final rock out. “Don’t forget us,” rasps Lemmy, “we’re Motörhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll.” The stage empties, but three minutes of applause brings the band back on for their encore, Overkill, to fans’ delight. The night culminates in trademark Motörhead rock, shot through with Lemmy’s bass riff. When it is over, Dee hurls his drumsticks and towel into the sea of outstretched hands.
Photo: Ray Ahner
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