I saw Motorhead in Oxford last night. They were, for want of a better word, fantastic. I first saw them in, I think, 1978 at Brunel University in Uxbridge, and they were fantastic then too. I've seen them a few times since then- Hammersmith Odeon, Forum etc- and, you've guessed it, they were fantastic every time.
It's nice to know that there are some things that you can rely on in life.
After an afternoon working on RADIO PRICE with Eastberg and Andy C. (most of which we spent rolling around in helpless laughter) myself and Andy travelled across to Oxford, parked up down a side road and walked into town. There's long hair, leather jackets and Motorhead t-shirts everywhere, a odd contrast with the rather sedate surroundings. Andy used to live in Oxford so knows it well, although as he led me up the worryingly-named St. Helens Passage I did wonder... however at the end and around the corner there's the Turf Tavern and an excellent pub it is too. Suitably refreshed we return venue-wards to meet up with Big Andy and his mate Gavin via the wonder of the mobile phone. The gig's at the New Theatre and there's time for a drink or two next door before going in.
9.25 and the lights go down to Lemmy's opening comments-
'How are you- alright? (audience cheers coweringly) We'll soon fix that...'
- and we're away with the first number, which I didn't know the title of. Like that matters. 'Stay Clean' was up next and by now I could feel the bass drum(s) on my chest every time they were played. Which was often. The sound's actually not that great- I know the words but couldn't understand them. The band are shouting at the monitor man and the crowd are subdued, or, more likely, shellshocked. (At the Brunel show I remember Lemmy turning his amp up several times until it was eventually on full- he still does that but now it's got MURDER ONE written on it and he turns the guitar amp up as well. Hope you're reading this Squirrel). But it gets better and by the time we get to a cover version of 'Rosalie' it's really taking off with Lemmy on good form as always ('here's a rock'n'roll song, to remind you all how good it used to be before hip-hop') and everyone playing well. By 'Killed by Death' the bass drums are loud enough to move the front half of my body; they finish with 'Iron Fist' and it's almost a relief. The encore's great- 'Whorehouse Blues' with Lemmy on harmonica and Phil & Mikkey on acoustic guitars that sound like they've been plugged straight into your ears, then the inevitable 'Ace of Spades' before 'Overkill' causes what might best be described as 'sensorary overload' with half a dozen strobe lights making you feel like your brain's come loose and the bass drums moving your entire body.
Motorhead. If they didn't exist we'd have to invent them. Fantastic.
For 3 out of the past 4 Sunday's it's been rock'n'roll central- The New York Dolls, The Who and Motorhead. It doesn't get any better than that for me. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some loud electric guitar to play...