Review: Patrick Widdess reports on Motorhead at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on 17 November 2008

Motörhead: Everything louder than everything else.

It was earplugs all round at the Corn Exchange as Lemmy and his henchmen returned, loud and dirty as ever. Things kicked off at high volume with a couple of support bands including fellow UK metal veterans Saxon. Whether you dig their turbo charged guitar anthems or fall about laughing at the ridiculous haircuts and overblown mannerisms that influenced Spinal Tap they are great entertainment. The band have recently enjoyed a boost in popularity since their early eighties heyday, and they enthusiastically deliver their latest material along with the classics. "Thank you, you've been a great audience, good night," shouts singer Biff after half an hour of punching the air and head-banging before they clear the stage to enable a monstrous stack of amps to be erected in preparation for the main event.

After over thirty years of drug fuelled hedonism the infamous trio appear remarkably unscathed as they walk on stage clad in black. "We are Motörhead and we play rock n roll!" Growls Lemmy, and for the next 90 minutes they do just that. Nothing has changed about their sound over the years and numbers from new album Motörizer follow the same format as classics Bomber, Killed By Death and Metropolis. It's a format that works and the band keep up an intense delivery. During Metropolis, drummer Mikkey Dee takes an extended solo, arms blurring as he batters the plethora of skins and cymbals finally throwing his sticks in the air and catching them to continue as the other two rejoin him. During another break the spotlight falls on Phil Cambell whose guitar wails and echoes around the darkened hall. For the most part though it's earsplitting guitars, heavy bass and pounding drums working together with Lemmy's unmistakable vocals; hoarse and menacing. Between songs the banter with the audience is less serious. After the first two deafening numbers Phil asks the crowd if they want it louder. The crowd react with cheering and show of hands.

The only time they break the mould is when they return to the stage for an encore with acoustic guitars. The unplugged Motörhead give us Whorehouse Blues with Lemmy on vocals and harmonica. Then it's time to plug in again, crank up the volume and get back to what only they can do. As the bass starts to rumble you know it's going be... The ace of spades, the ace of spades!

Long after the band have taken their leave the hall reverberates with feedback from their thunderous performance. Motörhead know how to leave a lasting impression but they are not done rocking yet!

Writer: Patrick Widdess