Tonight’s bill was a very diverse one. Supporting rock legends Motörhead were punk legends, The Damned, and German cowboy rock band The BossHoss.
The BossHoss kicked things off early – on stage at 7.10, not long after the doors opened. Despite the early start there was already a decent sized crowd in the venue to see them. I think I can confidently say that this tour will be the first time any of Motörhead’s support acts have brought along a mariachi band, but that’s exactly what the BossHoss have done. The BossHoss has seven members, so with the three mariachi horn players there wasn’t a lot of space for them on stage, but they all managed to find space to move around as they played.
If you’ve never seen or heard The BossHoss before you’re probably wondering why on earth they’d have a mariachi band with them. Well it’s because the band play great rock music blended with country, rockabilly, blues and more and all given s cowboy theme, and somehow the horns from the mariachi band work really well with the music. The other important bit with the BossHoss is fun – the music has this great fun feel to it, so while they’re obviously serious musicians, they make music that puts a smile on your face. Tonight’s set is no different – it’s great fun and great music combined into one.
Tonight’s set is mainly songs from their last few studio albums, and which also appear on their new UK release, “God loves cowboys”, as does the cover version they end the set with – Cameo’s “Word up”.
I wasn’t sure what the Motörhead crowd would make of The BossHoss, but there’s no doubting that the band went down very well tonight, and they clearly made some new fans here in Birmingham.
The BossHoss setlist:
Last day (Do or die)
I keep on dancing
Don’t gimme that
Next up came punk legends The Damned. They’ve been around for a long time – it’s only a couple of years till they’ll be celebrating their 40th anniversary, and Captain Sensible’s White coat acknowledges their age with the slogan “Old age punk”.
Somehow despite all the gigs and festivals I’ve attended over the years, before tonight I’d never seen The Damned play live, so I was looking forward to this, and they didn’t disappoint. Age hasn’t slowed them down of softened them – they still put in a great energetic set packed with an old-school punk attitude.
During “Neat neat neat” there was a bit of a jam, with Captain Sensible doing a nice Hendrix guitar solo.
For me the highlights were two songs I’ve always liked. – “Love song” and “Eloise”. Eloise in particular is one of those songs that everybody knows, whether they’re a fan of The Damned or not, and it certainly seemed to go down particularly well tonight.
The Damned setlist:
Second time around
Wait for the blackout
Silly kids games
The history of the world (part 1)
Neat neat neat
Smash it up
Finally it was time for Motörhead. With Lemmy’s recent health problems there has been a lot of speculation recently that this will be Motörhead’s final tour. Whether that turns out to be the case we’ll have to wait and see, but it seems fairly certain that playing a handful of arena dates instead of their usual month long UK tours is down to Lemmy’s health. Tonight though he seems in fairly good health. He’s clearly had to cut back on his legendary consumption of alcohol as at one point he had a drink before saying to the crowd “Mineral water – who needs it?” before adding “Me”. It’s almost as though his body went into shock at drinking something weaker than Jack Daniels as after having his drink of water, his voice went all croaky and he had to clear his throat.
It seemed strange seeing Motörhead in an arena, but what was really strange was the volume – I’ve never known Motörhead sound so quiet before, and in fact at one point towards the end of the show Lemmy heard fans shouting that they need to turn the volume up, and he asked the sound man to turn it up. Even then it was still quieter than the average Motörhead gig. There was definitely less atmosphere in this large arena venue than at a normal Motörhead gig.
After introducing “Doctor rock”, things went quiet before Lemmy had to explain that they were suffering from a temporary loss of power on stage, so there was a delay of around five minutes before they were able to continue.
Motörhead set lists are usually fairly predictable with many of the same songs played on every tour and tonight’s final song was one that they always play. – and to be fair it’s one the fans always want to hear. – “Ace of spades”. Tonight though they make it special as Lemmy introduced Fast Eddie Clark and Philthy Animal Taylor. After coming out to say hello, Philthy headed off stage, but Fast Eddie stayed on to play Ace of spades with them. It was my first time seeing the band play as a four piece (and I’m sure that was also true for a lot of other fans in the audience). The band ended the night with an encore of “overkill”.
Shoot you in the back
Over the top
The chase is better than the catch
Lost woman blues
Just ‘cos you got the power
Going to Brazil
Killed by death
Ace of spades