Support: Florence Black
Support: The Outlaw Orchestra
After a recent venture north to the Corp’ in Sheffield I find myself heading out tonight on my own. My regular gig buddy, and our extra passenger have both tested positive after the night’s antics. I hope others from that night are ok. As it would seem that these two weren’t the only ones to fall foul of the dreaded lurgy. I have been testing daily and so far, all the tests have been negative. Might have something to do with having the pleasure of testing positive after last Nov 4th pre lockdown pub venture.
Right so off I’m toddling, wanting to get there in time as I do like to have a mooch before settling in the pit for the night. Previous sold out shows its always been an effort to get away from the front so I take my little stool and settle down for the night.
Ok so tonight the doors are 18:30 and the first band, The Outlaw Orchestra are on at 18:50. As is usual we are still, stood outside waiting at 18:45 when the doors eventually open. So, its straight in and into the pit, no time to browse the merch stand as much as I’d like to.
We get greeted by Dave Roux and Ryan Smith from The Outlaw Orchestra as we get sorted, they are just firing up into their opening set, banjo plucking maestro, Pete Briley is over on the other side of the stage raring to go.
Blasting straight into a ‘Line The Track’ full of hey’s and banjo Pete giving it large on stage left, Ryan’s blasting out a rock steady beat as Dave Roux, as entertaining as hell, gives us a rousing performance, with the slight tongue in cheek story’s introducing each tune., he slides through into ‘See you In Hell’. The all too short set continues with ‘Back to Georgia’, ‘Send Some Whiskey Home’ and ‘Blame the Horse’. The sound is addictive, looking around the gathering crowd are smiling and clapping along to the dirty swamp rhythm ‘twanging’ at them, be it banjo or slide guitar. I’m sure a few feet are stomping along too. The set closer has a nice slow down south ballad roll to it, ‘Done My Time’, this is the opening track to the latest offering ‘Makin’ Tracks’, is a great tune to finish the night off. The crowd have enjoyed this unusual opener for such a heavy rock orientated headliner.
The mighty Florence Black are up next, after a brief stage re arrangement. Perry and Ryan are sharing drum kit so that makes life easier, we get straight into some Welsh hard Rock.
Another short set as the headliners, Phil Campbell and his boys are scheduled to be on at 20:35.opening up with ‘the Deep End’ we have heavily distorted guitar and a drum beat that’s going to rip your throat out, Tristan is flicking his long locks out the way as he grinds this one out, Jordan, on bass has no such problem, his ‘brillo pad’ curls are bouncing around as he thuds out a stonking bass line, I’ve always liked his Thunderbird and the tone he throws at you, ooh yeah lovely. It’s a wonder the skins on the drums are in one piece such is the anger they are being hit with, Perry gives me a look while he’s flailing around the kit followed by the bird, he doesn’t miss a beat whilst doing it. ‘Pierrepoint’ and ‘Down’ follow and then we get that that ‘tune’, the one that’s taken all by surprise, ‘Sun and Moon’, what a banger, it would seem that the crowd like it as they join in, a great sign. ‘Smoke’ is up next and then the set closer, and one that no Florence Black show is complete without, Budgies ‘Breadfan’ and they destroy the house! Wowzers, deep dark and heavy it slaps the crowd firmly between the eyes! Great choice of tunes guys, as always. For a three piece the sound is like being hit by an articulated lorry at full speed. Awesome!
Again, we wait for the stage to be cleared ready for the man, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. The now familiar ‘Highway Star’ by Deep Purple plays over the house PA as the band walk on. Tonight’s line up see’s new singer Joel Peters stepping up to the plate as Neill Starr left the band back in June. Firing up with ‘We’re the Bastards’ off the same titled album, has the crowd bouncing from the get go, meaty riffs cry out as the band settle in. Joel in sunglasses, bellows out and it’s a great voice. Campbell senior is stage right, watching intently as he strokes his instrument, there’s no panic or angst in his style, talk about laid back, that’s what touring as part of Motörhead does for you! Totally unphased as he and, son, Todd, share lead duties, Todd having a more aggressive style to his dad, but each complements the others style.
This flows into ‘Bite my Tongue’ and then we get the first of several ‘Motörhead’ covers of the night. With its familiar drum beat. Dean has got the ‘Philthy Phil’ sound sorted, it authentic as he and Tyla, on bass, hook up and we get that familiar sound missed by us all. Phil, guitar low, is chewing casually, walks up to the mic and joins in with the chorus. A great tune. ‘Spiders’ and ‘Son of a Gun’ follow. Joel’s doing a great job, not only has he got the pipes he’s also got the presence to drive the band along, a great choice of vocals. Again, great interplay between Todd and his dad as they back and forth with the screaming guitar duties, Dad is wandering around the stage smiling, it seems he could do this blindfolded it looks absolutely effortless.
Another Motörhead cover features next, after ‘Son of a Gun’, Dane is warmed up by this is a great driving rock tune very much in the Motörhead theme. ‘Born to Raise Hell’ hits you firmly in the jaw with its bouncing beat again has the crowd cheering, this is as close as we’ll get to hearing Motörhead play today, this band has the heritage. ‘High Rule’ is next a banging classic rock tune, full of wah pedal and the kind of guitar that makes you take notice. I’ve had to move to the back of the venue. Tonight, we had three in the pit and then out! There’s a great crowd in so it’s a challenge to see the band through the heads, Mum why am I such a short arse!! Mustn’t whinge, the nights been great so far. ‘Get on your Knees’ has the band bouncy along to this boppy number.
Mr Campbell senior looks like he’s enjoying the night so far, his trademark porkpie hat and ‘Welsh Wanker’ guitar strap adorning his god like status. He introduces this next song from his solo album ‘Old Lions Still Roar’. Penned by Dee Snider it’s a great tune about being old and still in the business showing the young uns how to go about it, its repetitive hook is addictive I think Phil has the gold V strapped in now? Great playing from Todd as he belts out the solo full of wah pedal.
‘Ace of Spades’ follows, Tyla and Dane crunch into the tune as it rattles around the venue, singing along in unison it’s great when a classic song gets the respect from the crowd. Delivered with a sledgehammer blow, its relentless, good old classic Motörhead. We then drop into an early Lemmy tune, the ubiquitous ‘Silver Machine’ again done justice by the band. It was released by the Bastards as a single and featured the legendary Dave Brock. ‘Ringleader’ heralds the end of the set. I’m dripping, not only in sweat but some nice gent has manged to pour his beer down my front whilst head banging, what the hell it’s only Rock’n’Roll.
The night finishes with a four-song encore of starting with Motörhead’s, ‘Going to Brazil’, a fast-licked number which has the lights flashing and the crowd bouncing again. ‘Dark Days’ with its slow lazy ballad type sleazy grind follows, and then the more upbeat ‘Big Mouth’ which segues nicely into the closing song, Motörhead’s mighty ‘Killed By Death’ which has the crowd on its toes, to be fair they’ve rocked out all night, as Phil grinds out the intro lick Joel has the crowd singing back, Todd smashes out a great solo, guitar perched on his thigh as he does so. Dad watches on grinning, as he’s enjoyed the night. Nottingham has been treated by a legend and his family.
A truly great night of hard rock, blowing away the Covid blues, which sadly seems to be taking over the news again with the increase in positive cases. Until such time as the inevitable happens let’s Rock‘n’Roll like never before, we’ve 18months to catch up on.
Words & Images: Manny Manson