Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons

Review: Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons – Glasgow

These are busy times for Phil Campbell. His acclaimed debut solo album ‘Old Lions Still Roar’ has just been released, and it’s great watching the man sitting back soaking up the plaudits. Then there is the small matter of a decent sized tour up and down the country with Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons. You know that you’re going to get a stellar evening of entertainment when Motorhead Phil is around, and tonight promised to be a riotous romp through decades of material, with stops at every facet of his career.

The task of warming up the rather baltic venue fell to Cornwall’s finest: the eight-legged beastie known as King Creature. Long time fans of King Creature here at DGM Towers, so it’s a great pleasure watching them tackle a crowd who appear to be catching King Creature for the first time. With early doors (thus meaning an early curfew) and a thirty minute set, they don’t waste any time by taking it easy. On the front foot from the opening chords of ‘Lowlife’, King Creature don’t let up until the last strains of ‘Power’ fade out.

King Creature, Phil Campbell and The Bastard SonsExtremely confident in the live setting, the band take the chance to road test a few new tracks, including brand new single ‘Desolation’ and ‘Falling Down’. Both fine slabs of immense riffage with crunching grooves, they bring an added edge to the King Creature sound, and show how much the band has grown in the two years since debut album ‘Volume One’ was released. By the time the short set finishes, the crowd has grown quite significantly, and those who missed the early start are left bemoaning staying in Wetherspoons next door for that last pint. Look out for the all important video of ‘Desolation’ any day now.

Phil Campbell and The Bastard SonsThe Classic Grand is notoriously a very dark venue, and not just because it used to be a porn cinema. The days of handlebar moustaches and dodgy plumbers coming round to fix the pipes might be over, but it’s still darker than a nun’s habit on washday. So dark that Phil Campbell has to dispense with his shades after a few moments of opener ‘Step Into The Fire’. Shades or not, he is still the coolest hombre in the building by a country mile.

The backdrop features branding for the aforementioned debut solo album ‘Old Lions Still Roar’, and Phil drops a few tracks from it into the well-paced setlist. With the exception of perhaps the odd time where paths might cross at a festival, the guest vocalists featured on the album won’t appear with Campbell live. But he has Bastard Sons vocalist Neil Starr right next to him, to take on the roles of Dee Snider and Rob Halford on ‘These Old Boots’ and ‘Straight Up’ respectively. One of the most pleasing aspects about a performance from Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons, is the development of Starr into a fine vocalist and frontman. On those early few PCATBS gigs, you got the impression that Starr was a bit overawed by being alongside Phil Campbell, as well as being the only non-Campbell. Not now though; my has he grown in confidence and stature! Fantastic to see him controlling the crowd so well. Likewise, the Campbell siblings – Todd (guitar), Dane (drums) and Tyla (bass) have grown into a watertight band, and look (and play) like they were born to be onstage.

Phil Campbell and The Bastard SonsThe setlist is a masterclass in pacing and striking a fine balance between original material and cover versions. Debut PCATBS album, ‘Age Of Absurdity’, came out last year and is well represented by the likes of ‘Freak Show’, ‘High Rule’, a slow grinding, sleazy version of ‘Dark Days’, and ‘Ringleader’. Also included is a visit to the 2017 debut EP for ‘Big Mouth’. Dotted around the band material and the solo material is a handful of choice cover versions: ‘Silver Machine’, ‘Born To Raise Hell’, ‘Rock Out’, ‘Rockaway Beach’, ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S’, ‘Ace Of Spades’.. each one greeted with loud roars of approval from the well lubricated crowd.

Anyone associated with Motorhead is viewed as Rock royalty, and rightly so. But with the release of ‘Old Lions Still Roar’, and The Bastard Sons at his side, Phil Campbell is not-so-quietly going about his business of reminding everyone that there is still plenty of fire left in his belly.

Check out all remaining Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons tour dates here.

Review – Dave S

Images – Dave Jamieson

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