Motorhead: a guide to their best live albums

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Motorhead has racked up 22 studio albums over his four decades as true rock’n’roll champions, eschewing scenes of the month ranging from NWOBHM to punk rock and old heavy metal to live by the maxim: “We are Motorhead. , we play rock’n’roll.

However, like many of their 70s peers, it was the band’s live release that more easily represented who they really were. Steadfast road warriors, Motorhead performed songs that peaked when they were stuck in a room of sweaty punters willing to sacrifice their hearing in exchange for a chance to catch a glimpse of rock’n’s true face. ‘roll, in all its warty glory.

Motorhead spun until the very end – Lemmy often joked that he hoped to “die on stage like [comedian] Tommy Cooper ”- and their live releases often offer better insight into who the band was at some point in their careers.

The changes in staff, style and approach are all captured in the 14 releases (to date) that make up the band’s live album catalog, not to mention the more unscrupulous background circumstances that have surrounded some releases, published by the ex-manager of the group. capitalize on the success of No sleep until Hammersmith).

Despite this, each live release offers a more realistic portrayal of the band than their studio release ever could. There is, after all, a reason why the live versions of No class and Bomber find their way to the “biggest hits” releases, and why No sleep until Hammersmith took pride of place as the only Motorhead record to top the UK charts.

Reliable as clockwork – Christmas still doesn’t feel right without their annual November getaway – and subtle as a nuclear bomb, Motorhead Live was a rampaging beast, indifferent to adhering to something as mundane as decibel limits, and indifferent to the thrift store that their contemporaries adorned themselves on the way to becoming “rock stars”.

The twelve-minute solos and chirping vocal demonstrations could never compete with the sheer boast that Iron fist, on top Where Orgasmatron could bring. Motorhead has established himself as a rock icon by letting the music do the talking. As the band itself said at almost every concert after 1979: “The only way to feel noise is when it’s good and loud. “

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No Sleep Until Hammersmith (1981, Bronze)

Researchers agree Motorhead was on some creative form that can only be called ‘hot shit’ when they first came out No sleep until Hammersmith in 1981. Overkill, Bomber and Ace of Spades climbed the charts from 1979 to 1980, but it was Black-smith who took the coveted first place.

Smoother, faster and nastier than the hind legs of a mule, Black-smith set the tone for how Motörhead songs should sound live, by doing studio renditions of Bomber, No Class, Over The Top and even Ace of Spades feel anemic by comparison. After the percussive explosion that marks the beginning of the opening Spades, there is no going back

Everything Is Louder Than Everyone (1999, Steamhammer)

Every rock fan is worth their weight in salt No sleep until Hammersmith is Motorhead’s definitive live album. They can also be wrong. Hammersmith could be bottled up to capture the band’s ‘classic’ line-up, but Everything is stronger than everyone offers a glimpse of the trio who continued their legacy until their disbandment in 2015.

Motorhead has never seemed more imperious or conquering than on Stronger, and more recent cuts such as Sacrifice and Burner are just as thunderous as the old standards of the group.

The World is Ours Vol 1 (2011, UDR GMBH / EMI)

Recorded in Santiago, New York and Manchester, The World is Ours Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than Anywhere Else captures the group at the height of their powers in their winter years. Made up of songs spanning 1979 through to their 2010 record The world is yours, the set is the archetypal Motorhead contemporary setlist.

The band attack the songs with a vitality that sends sparkling flashes through classics such as Keep clean and Killed by death, while Get back online and Go wild show their zeal for the classic rock‘n’roll sound bloated.

No Sleep at All (1988, GWR)

The straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to Motorhead’s relationship with GWR (a dispute over a lead single ultimately leading to legal action and the band’s departure from the label), No sleep at all also suffered from uneven mixing.

Even so, the end product showcases the band’s reputation as a speed freak, with each song sounding sped up to convey a sense of sonic anarchy. Phil Campbell and Wurzel’s two-guitar assault gives a panache that the usual Motorhead power trio setup does not have, with Eat the rich and Just because you have the power especially with a god treatment of the 80s guitar.

Lock Up Your Daughters 1978 (1990, receiver)

Once Black-smith Topping the UK charts in 1981, many of the music industry sharks that Motorhead had encountered in their early years smelled money in the air and were trying to cash in on their own live releases. Overall, these late ’70s recordings are half-baked, lacking the band’s signature venom and vigor.

Lock up your girls goes against the trend by capturing one of the early examples of the classic trio (‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, Lemmy) as they prepare to spice up the band’s opening songs, reminiscent of thus the anarchic dynamism of punk.

25 & Alive: Live At Brixton Academy (2003, SPV GMBH / Sanctuary)

Motorhead celebrated its quarter-century anniversary in style, putting together a star-studded guest list for a show at Brixton Academy in October 2000. Brian May, Whitfield Crane, Doro Pesch and others joined the band for songs. of which Overpowered and Born to raise hell, while ‘Fast’ Eddie returned for reviews of The pursuit is better than the capture and Overpowered.

Overall, the set maintains an extremely festive tone, but the sheer napalm fury of I’m so bad (baby I don’t care) and We are Motorhead show that the group was not resting on past glories.

Louder Than Noise… Live In Berlin (2021, Silver Lining Music)

Definitely more balanced than many other live Motorhead records post-2000, Louder than noise features a 70-minute “Biggest Hits” set with the added bonus of capturing the group firing on all cylinders. Take off like a jet engine to I know how to die, the likes of Rock it and The one who sings the blues a more refined and powerful sound than the studio versions.

Motorhead may not pretend to be musos, but the mixture of Louder than noise highlights the flawless tightness of their game, Metropolis and Damage cases especially sounding more groovy than ever.

BBC Live & In-Session (2005, Sanctuary)

Recorded between 1978 and 1986, BBC live and in session is the definitive document of Motorhead’s evolution during their first decade. Not drenched in as much distortion as other live releases, the BBC feels inherently closer to a traditional rock’n’roll record.

At Pentecost, on file I will be your sister forever felt like a stylistic quirk, but included as part of a 1978 Peel session, the song’s existence becomes more understandable when compared to the group’s early numbers like Keep us on the road. Elsewhere, the BBC’s interpretation Orgasmatron deserves a special note, capturing Lemmy in all his demonic glory

Better Motorhead Than Dead (2007, SPV GMBH)

Ironically, Motorhead’s only live album recorded at Hammersmith (Apollo), Better engine than dead caught up with the band at the three-decade mark in 2005. Though the sound is muddy, the record still has the mark of magic that a Motorhead show typically involves, plundering their grease-filled motor for cacophonous deliveries of We are the road team, RAMONES and Love for sale.

Most notable, however, is the inclusion of The brothel blues – while Motorhead relied more on ballads in its post-90s production, the songs rarely made set-lists or live releases. More is a pity.


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