Motörhead @ Scandinavium, Gothenburg (SE)

MOTÖRHEAD / SAXON / GIRLSCHOOL

Date: 01st December, 2015
Venue: Scandinavium
Tickets: 530SEK (€54/$58)
Promoter: Live Nation
Photos: Erika Wallberg


[This live report was written few days before Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister's passing. We'd like to send our most sincere condolences to his family and friends.] It was with very mixed feelings I went to the Scandinavium venue this rather dark and grey December evening. It was quite long since I had last seen MOTÖRHEAD but as the feedback has been rather diverse lately and also the health issues for Lemmy as well as Phil Campbell who was flown directly from the hospital in Berlin to be on stage in Gothenburg and entertain us, metalheads. When the whole tour was announced though, I was utterly excited about it all, of course three very good bands in one bill but it also felt like visiting the old days where you had these kind of amazing line-up’s tour after tour.

GIRLSCHOOL kicked serious ass at the ‘Metal Magic Festival’ a few months ago, so I was looking forward to see them once more very much. After the show in Fredericia, I did what I should have done prior to the gig, dug up all GIRLSCHOOL records in the collection and gave them a few spins since I was so hooked after that show. I was a bit hesitant though that they’d manage to repeat the 'MMF' performance which of course has as much to do with atmosphere.

What is fun with GIRLSCHOOL though is that they are going strong, they sure still look the part and sounds really good. Perhaps the old songs still worked the best from a musical perspective since they didn’t really could come up to the energy level in “Take It Like A Band” compared to “Emergency” for example.

From my own perspective, I think the atmosphere suffered a bit this night, as well as the size of the stage, compared to this summer’s gig. The tight ‘Metal Magic’ stage as well as way to cheap beer helped a lot then. A slow-filling venue doesn’t do the trick really. However, I still think GIRLSCHOOL delivered a very good set. I always applause bands for pushing their new releases and the new songs worked really well. For sure, “Race With The Devil” and already mentioned “Emergency” got a bit better response but that can also have to do with the size of the crowd who had become really decent towards the end of GIRLSCHOOL’s set. But really, music like this is more fun in a sweaty club than an arena stage. But a good gig it was!

GIRLSCHOOL setlist:

01. “Demolition”
02. “C'mon Let's Go”
03. “Come, The Revolution”
04. “Take It Like A Band”
05. “Future Flash”
06. “Watch Your Step”
07. “Race With The Devil”
08. “Emergency”


That SAXON would deliver I had no doubt about, rather how much would they run over the rest of the bands on the bill. I tried to count how many times I’ve seen SAXON over the years and realized it should be at least 50 and frankly, there has never been a bad show, the rage goes from Damn Good to Absolutely Fantastic and this was no exception. Since SAXON visits Sweden almost every year it was good to see the crowd gearing up to see them once more. As I said I never get tired of seeing them and apparently I’m not alone in this. Set opener as well as title track of new album “Battering Ram” set the mood right from the start. Amazing energy and drive by the band and Biff strutting over stage in his coat and black pants, only that sent shivers down my spine.

This being a rather big place I still got very good spot to watch the show from, with full view over Nibbs Carter and him being right in my focus area most of the show. It’s so fascinating to watch him play. He sure works hard and play a lot, there are a lot of things going on on the bass all the time. And no, it’s no show-off, look at me kind of attitude but it’s just there and fills the sound. Also to take in consideration is that he’s playing the organ/keyboard parts, or more the choirs appearing in the newer songs using his feet. A pedal board from hell you could perhaps call it, looks like the foot-part of a massive organ (which it actually might be). But no matter how many tasks he has ongoing, still the same flow, the same ease. It’s amazing to watch him really.

Just as GIRLSCHOOL, SAXON mixed their set of new and old songs, second song out was another fast one in “Motorcycle Man” and if “Battering Ram” didn’t struck hard enough to get the complete crowd to wake up this sure did. It’s amazing how SAXON manages to get new songs to become classics in a fairly short period of time. This as “Sacrifice” got the same response as the song prior to it on the setlist.

One of my favorites from SAXON brand new album showed up in the set, at the second half of the show. “The Devil’s Footprint” dark but yet catchy character I found very appealing and it worked live as well. I think it was in this song it became rather apparent that what you hear is live and no click tracks or whatever is used. Perhaps the tempo goes up a bit since the additional choirs in the chorus were a tiny bit slower than the music. They started at the right beat, of course since they too are played, but dragged a bit over to the riff after the chorus.

The venue had filled up really good and was almost full when it was time for SAXON to start, a couple of songs into the set it was virtually full. Ok, not as it was in the 80’s maybe since the stage was pushed quite far out on the floor, to limit the space somewhat. 5000 or 10000 people didn’t really matter; the response given was massive, screaming between the songs also spine-chilling.

In any SAXON show the crowd gets to select a song or two in the set, selection started with “And The Bands Played On”, “Never Surrender” was put up for selection as well together with a few more. During this part Biff pointed out that SAXON can do this and chose to play whatever they want and even make changes in the set up on stage since all you hear is live. In the end “Crusader” got the loudest response which really didn’t come as a surprise, it’s an amazing song and works perfect live. “747 (Strangers In The Night)” ended the set and while it was kicked off Biff encouraged the crowd to give it all since this was our song referring to Scandinavian 101 flight number. It worked really well and I started to get worried that MOTÖRHEAD had an impossible task to overcome, or even make some sort of impression after the SAXON gig.

SAXON setlist:

01. Intro [“It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)”]
02. “Battering Ram”
03. “Motorcycle Man”
04. “Sacrifice”
05. “Destroyer”
06. “Power And The Glory”
07. “20,000 Ft”
08. “The Devil’s Footprint”
09. “Heavy Metal Thunder”
10. “Requiem (We Will Remember)”
11. “Princess Of The Night”
12. “Wheels Of Steel”
13. “Crusader”
14. “747 (Strangers In The Night)”


The buzz before the show was that this would probably be the last chance to see MOTÖRHEAD live. I really don’t want to believe this was the last time. Of course, in later years they’ve slowed down somewhat, it’s not really the punch in the face they used to be but they’ve always delivered the times I’ve seen them. Also, for me MOTÖRHEAD has been equal to hard work to maintain the status of the band. I mean, as spat on as MOTÖRHEAD was in the beginning of their career, at least by the press but they’ve still kept going. Others, of the classic bands slid on a shrimp sandwich back in the days as well as nowadays, re-united or hardworking all the way. While MOTÖRHEAD has never really been out of fashion, they’ve never really been in either. Still they’ve just kept going and I’m not ready to think that age and health would stop them now. It feels a bit like when MOTÖRHEAD’s gone it’s the real end of the era. I’m not ready for that yet.

As soon as I entered the venue I noticed the Bomber plane in the light-rig. Hell, yes! A very welcome addition to the show as it was a while since I last saw it, and I’ve only seen it once or twice live to this day. It’s damn cool when it’s lowered down over the stage wobbling from side to side and move forward and back. It looks so unstable I’m afraid the chains and wires will break and the Bomber will crush the band. Luckily that didn’t happen (this time either).

But for sure, the last decade has taken its toll on Mr. Kilmister, his skinny figure on the massive stage didn’t really fit and it was hard to hear what he was talking about in between the songs. While “Bomber”, “Stay Clean” and “Metropolis” passed in a rather tired mood people around started to twist and turn. Would he actually last the show? Phil who just been released from the Hospital looked as he always does, no more no less I thought. And perhaps Lemmy needed those few songs in the beginning to get started because it actually caught up a bit after this. For sure, there’s not much action from him but musically it took a turn for the better a few songs into the set. Mikkey Dee is one reason to why MOTÖRHEAD still has that amazing drive in the songs. Mikkey worked hard on the crowd to get everyone going. It becomes very clear that an active front is needed to get people going. Most everyone in Gothenburg is extremely spoilt when it comes to concert and that’s clear seeing SAXON and MOTÖRHEAD back to back. Biff was in the front, in peoples face while Lemmy remained rather passive. Even if Mikkey worked hard he still has a drum-kit to reach over before connecting with the crowd which makes it harder.

“Over the Top” was followed by a guitar solo and I realized I’ve forgotten how damn a good guitar player Phil really is. I love the attitude in his playing and here he really showed off a lot of different skills and it’s good to see a solo with more feeling than show-off technique once in a while. “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch” is one of my favorite songs so it’s always very nice to hear that one live. But one of the absolute highlights of the show was “Dr Rock”, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one live and it’s also a favorite track. A drum solo is a necessity I guess to let Lemmy and Phil rest for a while and even if I’m not that big a fan of drum solos I think Mikkey is one of the most fun to watch.

One of the songs that worked the best in the set was “Just 'Cos You Got the Power”, the slow beat and heavy rhythm worked very well and as on some occasions it felt Lemmy couldn’t keep up with the faster songs, this worked perfect. So damn Heavy. I was surprised that the show continued well over the hour, I didn’t expect that. I checked the time as “Ace Of Spades” took of just to realize it would be a full show. After a short break while the stage was setup the band came back and took the positions. Chairs and acoustic guitars set my mind on “Whorehouse Blues” which was the song that came along. I remember seeing this for the first time, when it was just released and Mikkey looked so uncomfortable playing guitar. Now he managed the guitar with grace as well as keeping the beat up with a bass drum and a high-hat. And what a groove they managed to get

As a tradition “Overkill” signaled the ending of the show. After the final restart and instruments put on the speakers to create that crazy deafening feedback I wondered was this really the last time? Sure, there was a few occasion when MOTÖRHEAD wasn’t as tight as they used to be but they still sound damn good, they perhaps don’t come across as filthy and mean anymore but they’re still the loudest band in the world. So no, this isn’t the end!

MOTÖRHEAD setlist:

01. Intro
02. “Bomber”
03. “Stay Clean”
04. “Metropolis”
05. “When The Sky Comes Looking For You”
06. “Over The Top”
07. Guitar Solo
08. “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch”
09. “Lost Woman Blues”
10. “Orgasmatron”
11. “Doctor Rock” (with drum solo)
12. “Just 'Cos You Got The Power”
13. “No Class”
14. “Ace Of Spades”
15. “Whorehouse Blues”
16. “Overkill”

MOTÖRHEAD

Motorhead @ Scandinavium, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)