“Better Motorhead Than Dead: Live At Hammersmith” by Motorhead

Artist: Motorhead
Title: “Better Motorhead Than Dead: Live At Hammersmith”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 10/16/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

I’d like to start this one by laughing in the face of those who always told me that the music that I listened to had no longevity and would die a quiet death yet here I am reviewing the latest Motorhead live album – an album that celebrates the bands own 30th Anniversary. The recording was done during the bands “Inferno” tour of 2005 and comes from the Hammersmith Apollo in London England, a perfect venue for such a band to deliver a rock solid, chock full of hits evening of music for a sold out crowd. Historically, there has always been something primal and pure about Motorhead music and while I admit that I was not among the earliest fans I quickly learned the error of my ways and became a diehard supporter of Lemmy and the boys. While we can easily enjoy them on record I would have to say that the band belongs on the stage more than in the studio. To say that this live album finds the band smoking would be an understatement and this is largely because they are ALWAYS an incredible experience in the live sense. I would dare say that if Lemmy ever had to choose between touring and recording that he would opt for the road on any day of the week. His powerful bass riffs thunder during the set and are the perfect compliment to drummer Mikkey Dee who was the ideal choice for this band when they brought him on board. The power trio is rounded out by Phil Campbell who shows that he doesn’t need anyone else on guitar as long as he is there and I have to say that I rather enjoy the band in this fashion and find them quite possibly the tightest of all the lineups that they have ever had during the years.

The set performed for this show is an even mix of the tunes from the early days as well as a nice dose of newer material. They have had so many albums released in their catalog but they never seem to focus entirely on the new album when they put one out. It’s a wise choice for while their audience might like hearing some new things they are still begging for the stuff that turned them on to the band in the first place. My own first adventure was “No Sleep Til Hammersmith”, oddly enough another live recording but still an album that made me realize what this band was all about. The audience here is not only getting the venerated tunes like “Iron First” and “Ace Of Spades” but also the newer tracks like “Sacrifice” and “In The Name Of Tragedy”. I am finding that I enjoy songs like “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” and “Going To Brasil” more and more when I hear them and was glad that they are included here. We get a tasty little drum solo from Dee during “Sacrifice” as well and it will show you why Lemmy refers to him as the greatest Rock & Roll drummer alive. The guys also slow it down for a few minutes during “Whorehouse Blues” but then its right back to some of their oldest numbers as the closing encores. “Ace Of Spades” and “Overkill” are still incredible numbers that show an almost timeless factor to their composition and still sound as good today as they did when they were first released. The release also comes in a sweet looking package as it’s a fold out digipak along with a twenty page booklet that is just loaded with concert photos from the show. The liner notes are limited to a couple of pages of recording details and band thanks which leaves more room for concert shots. I will take that any day as I always enjoy a good insert booklet with my albums.

The main thing besides the great selection of tunes presented here is how good the band sounds live doing them and I cannot say this enough. Its clear to me that age is not an issue when it comes to rocking hard and the newer bands of today that might have a few levels of arrogance in them would do well to observe how Motorhead delivers and keeps their fans happy. There are scant few bands who are able to celebrate such an accomplishment and still have a following who is as ravenous for their music as they were in the beginning. As we close in on year thirty-three I raise a pint high in one hand and the horns in the other to you all. Congratulations guys, here’s to the next thirty years.

Track Listing:
1. Dr. Rock
2. Stay Clean
3. Shoot You In The Back
4. Love Me Like A Reptile
5. Killers
6. Metropolis
7. Love For Sale
8. Over The Top
9. No Class
10. I Got Mine
11. In The Name Of Tragedy
12. Dancing On Your Grave
13. R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
14. Sacrifice
15. Just ‘Cos You Got The Power
16. (We Are) The Road Crew
17. Going To Brazil
18. Killed By Death
19. Iron Fist
20. Whorehouse Blues
21. Bomber
22. Ace Of Spades
23. Overkill

Official Website: www.imotorhead.com

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