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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Phil Campbell (Review By Paul H)

Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, The Globe, Cardiff

Back to The Globe for the return of one of South Wales’ favourite sons. If ever there was a poll about the greatest Welshmen, Philip Anthony Campbell should surely be close to the top. Never mind the relic that is wheeled out at Rugby internationals to sing songs about wife beating, this man spent 30 years in Motörhead for fucks sake, writing some of the greatest rock n roll songs and working with Lemmy! Now neatly packaged up with his three sons Tyla, Dane and Todd and with the addition of the fantastic Neil Starr, this is a band whose trajectory is going skyward.

Before the Bastard Sons went through their paces, a sold out, and I mean sold out Globe tolerated the hard working Leader Of Down (7). The band who were formed by the late Wurzel released their debut album Cascade Into Chaos courted controversy with the inclusion of some Fast Eddie Clarke songs on the album. For more detail about this see my review from 6th October. Anyway, the band arrived after the Quo had blasted out Down Down and proceeded to deliver an entertaining if routine set full of tracks from their album but with a couple of interesting covers thrown in. Vocalist Matt Baker was hyperactive, charging around the stage with copious enthusiasm although his constant urging of “C’mon Cardiff” was wearing quite quickly. You have to earn the applause. Unsurprisingly given that Fastway drummer Steve Clarke is behind the kit, one of the covers was Say What You Will, an early track from the band that Fast Eddie and Pete Way put together in the early 1980s. Despite some horrendous bass sound for Tim Atkinson during the mid-part of the set, the band slowly warmed the crowd up and by the time they hit Hawkwind’s Master Of The Universe it was fair to say that Leader Of Down had earned a few new fans.

However, there was no doubting the main event and as Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons (9) made their way on stage, The Globe needed a deep breath to squeeze in the hordes of Motörheadbangers and metalheads who had filled the venue to bursting. For the next 90 minutes the band blasted through a set list which was perfectly balanced between songs from their debut EP and the fabulous Age Of Absurdity and a good spread of old Motörhead classics. What impresses me about this band is how easily their material sits alongside the older Motörhead songs with Big Mouth, Freak Show, Welcome To Hell and Ring Leader all getting appreciative nods from the massed ranks. Unsurprisingly the biggest cheers were reserved for the old school tunes, with Born To Raise Hell, Going To Brazil, Ace Of Spades and R.A.M.O.N.E.S  and a thunderous The Game all superb. Phil Campbell, as I’ve written many times before, is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock and his casual approach always makes his sublime work look effortless. Supported by son Todd, no slouch himself, whilst Tyla mouthed every word and thundered the bass lines in a way rarely seen since Lemmy’s death. Starr is a compelling frontman, never stealing the limelight but doing what he needed to do; in solid fashion.

As time moved on, it was nearly encore time. With the middle fingers raised in the band’s trusty manner, Silver Machine slipped in nicely as the place went nuts. Bomber was immense, Just Cos You’ve Got The Power was a welcome addition before Rock N’ Roll brought a magnificent evening to a thrilling close. As the sweat dripped off the ceiling and walls, the smiles from all around said it all. With half their tour still to go and a support slot for Slash next year’s tour, this is a band that should be able to take the rock world by the throat. Don't bet against it. Sheer quality.

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