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Added by James Gaden     February 17, 2010    
 
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Motorhead, live at Manchester Apollo - 21st November 2009

After a predictable but entertaining support set by Girlschool and a surprisingly exciting set by The Damned (a band I’ve never really gotten into but changed my mind on the night), Motorhead came onstage at half-nine, which is kinda late. They’ve been touring on the back of ‘Motorizer’ for some time now so it was a bit cheeky that Lemmy introduced ‘Rock On’ as “from the new album.” It isn’t really new anymore, is it? The setlist is in dire need of a shake-up. Motorhead, like a lot of bands their age, get used to the same setlist and when they’ve nailed it down they don’t really like to change it. I guess it’s a bit too much work. So it was pretty much business as usual and barely any different from last year’s annual shindigs at the Apollo in Manchester. The gig was sold out and the place was absolutely rammed so Motorhead have proven their sound endures.
They opened with ‘Iron Fist’ and followed it up with one of my personal favourites from the so-called classic era, ‘Stay Clean.’ By the time the band were a few songs in and guitarist Phil Campbell had asked the crowd if they wanted the volume turned up (naturally they all said yes) the sound was, even by Motorhead standards, way too loud. Lemmy’s vocals were barely audible in the mix and he sounded more strained and hoarse than usual. He may not be the best singer in the business but there is something about his voice that is captivating. But on this particular night, his vocals were quite rough. Motorhead have made a reputation from being the world’s loudest band but this particular gig was deafeningly loud to the point of being ridiculous.
There were a couple of surprises for both sets of fans – the diehards and the casuals. For the diehards they played the rare B-side ‘Cradle To The Grave’ which was a lot of fun. While for the casuals they played “as a little archive treat” a cover of Twisted Sister’s chest-beating anthem ‘Shoot ‘Em, Down’, which was totally unexpected, though they did cover Thin Lizzy’s ‘Rosalie’ last year. As good as those covers were, Motorhead have far too much material in their back catalogue to choose from instead of playing other bands’ songs. I’m glad they kept ‘I Got Mine’ in the setlist as it’s one of my favourite tracks and Lemmy rightly pointed out that ‘Another Perfect Day’ has picked up quite a fan base over the years, though in 1983 nobody was especially keen. So all in all, it was not a perfect evening. They were tight and well-rehearsed as expected from them but the setlist left me wanting to hear a bunch of different songs. Maybe next year?
Neil Daniels

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