Live Review: Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – Blackpool

Live Review: Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons - Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
8th May 2022
Support: Leader of Down, Segrëgates
Words: Dan Barnes

It’s Motörhead day – the 8th of May – and where better to spend it than at the newly crowned Best Live UK Venue by the people at Planet Rock and also Europe’s only official Lemmy’s Bar after The Waterloo have been officially endorsed, sponsored and are now in collaboration with the Motörhead company themselves, pairing this venue with Lemmy’s Lounge at the Los Angeles Rainbow Bar & Grill.

Day One of the celebrations saw Motörheadache topping the five-band bill but this, being a school-night, means just three acts will play, the headliner being Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons doing a full ‘head set so it’s hardly any reason to shed a tear.

Leader of Down, who open Sunday’s shenanigans, was put together by bassist Tim Atkinson and former Motörhead guitarist, Wurzel. The band’s name derives from a mishearing of the Status Quo song, Down, Down’s chorus. From the get-go you know it’s going to be a loud night as Leader of Down hit the stage with some unrelenting, pumping, dirty rock & roll.

It’s a set of classic rockers from both the band’s releases. Paradise Turned to Dust originally featured Lemmy on vocals, whereas Snakebite saw Fast Eddie contributing all the recorded guitars. As unique as those individuals are, Leader of a Down make a reasonable fist at replicating the sound and the Waterloo laps it up.

It’s not all blood and thunder though, as the band seem equally at home in the more traditional mould of cranking out those Classic Rock riffs, filled with hooks, ready to snare you in.

A cover of Motörhead’s All for You from the Rock n Roll album is well received as is the Hawkwind cover, Master of the Universe.

Yorkshire’s Segrëgates make their way over the Big Hill to blast Blackpool with an hour of in your face, caustic Motörpunk, straight off the Motörhead production line and custom-built to rock. Close you eyes and you could be at one of Motörhead’s early show, in a packed pub, assaulted by noise.

The Motörhead vibe is recreated down to the inter-band banter and the self-deprecating comments and the supposed onstage sloppiness actually masks how truly tight and locked in this three-piece are. Having been around for a decade or more and been regarded as above average by Phil Campbell himself, Segrëgates are a blast from start to finish.

Going into this performance we all knew Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons were to become Motörhead for the evening. As such, there was always going to be the absolute must-plays, those Motörhead standards that could not be overlooked. We’re talking the likes of Overkill, Iron Fist, Bomber and, of course Ace of Spades, which Phil dedicates to every person to pass through the Motörhead ranks over the years.

All are delivered with the fire and passion you would expect from such a catalogue, and all are equally, passionately received by the capacity crowd.

Damage Case maintains its swing as does (We Are) The Road Crew. Joel Peters – the only non-member of the Campbell clan on stage tonight, does a fair job of filling the cowboy boots of one of rock’s most iconic frontman, without every descending into parody.

He splits the room in half for the singalong-battle of Born to Raise Hell and even makes an admirable attempt at the second Hawkwind cover of the day as the band close the set with Silver Machine.

Other than the obvious titles, my favourite Motörhead albums are 1916 and Orgasmatron and both are represented in the set: R.A.M.O.N.E.S. and Going to Brazil from the former and the title track and a grinding version of Deaf Forever from the latter.

The encore finishes with Killed by Death but the band haven’t played Overkill yet and I’m sure that’s a legal requirement. Despite the late hour and lengthening shadows Phil brings the family back for one final blast through of that particular classic track, bringing the curtain down on No Sleep ‘till Blackpool for the year.

With the Waterloo hosting their Motörhead Day last year and now this event, here’s hoping that the new partnership will result in this celebration becoming at least an annual pilgrimage to the Lancashire coast.

Header image credit: Tim Finch Photography

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