Motorhead are a bit heavier than your average Guilfest headliner and I have slight reservations about how they will be received but I needn’t have worried as there’s a big crowd assembled for Lemmy & co.
They waste no time aside from the formality of Lemmy’s usual introduction “We are Motorhead and we play rock and roll!” as they launch into ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘Stay Clean’. Being a festival slot the set is slightly shorter than usual and it works well, meaning that they mix it up a little although it is still very much the same set from last years ‘Motorizer’ tour. Despite a little rain the crowd are in fine voice and whilst it’s not the wildest audience I’ve ever seen they are certainly enthusiastic and most seem to relish the opportunity of seeing something a little louder on the main stage.
The new material fits in well with ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Rock Out’ preceding the staples of ‘Metropolis’ and ‘Over the Top’. There is an awkward moment as Lemmy threatens to leave the stage if anyone else throws anything onto the stage but fortunately the rest of the set passes without incident. As it has been all day the sound is good on the main stage but not too loud, which is a bonus where Motorhead are concerned as although they always tell the sound man to turn it up this kind of clarity allows Lemmy’s fine bass work and guitarist Phil Campbell’s lead work to shine. Drummer Mikkey Dee gets his traditional solo spot during ‘In the Name of Tragedy’ and they round off the main set in fine style with a trio of ‘Going to Brazil’, ‘Killed By Death’ and the surprise of the set, the return of fan favourite ‘Bomber’.
The encore follows the familiar pattern of the acoustic ‘Whorehouse Blues’, the rapturously received ‘Ace of Spades’ (remembering that many of this crowd have probably never seen the band before) and the stunning finale ‘Overkill’. Motorhead are so polished these days they could churn out a fine performance in their sleep and whilst there are no surprises today they do the business with aplomb, proving to any doubters that they are still a relevant force.