||SAXON WITH PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE PAY TRIBUTE TO LEMMY AT METAL HAMMER'S GOLDEN GODS AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON
14th June 2016
Photos by Sally Newhöuse and David Cräig
It was an emotional night for Motörhead fans, officianados, former employees and friends and even casual onlookers tonight at Hammersmith Odeon, London as Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell shared a stage together for the first time since the best rock n' roll band in history's amazing run of forty years and twenty-two studio albums came to an end in late December 2015.
Yes, we know it is officially called the Eventim Apollo now but it will always be Hammersmith Odeon to us, and to every Motörheadbanger gathered here tonight. You don't need sleep until you get here, especially when you've got the power and the speed.
The Metal Hammer Golden Gods always takes place on the Monday after Download and it's pretty much the biggest night of the Heavy Metal calendar. The best Metal magazine in the world always put on a show to remember but tonight was more than special for several reasons.
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The Golden Gods are usually held at the O2 in Greenwich which is a fabulous venue but this year Metal Hammer, celebrating their mil(as)estone 30th birthday this year, switched it to Hammersmith Odeon and it became apparent why they had done this when it was announced on 29th April that Saxon, along with Motörhead members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, would pay tribute to Lemmy by playing a special one-off set of Motörhead songs.
And it left tears in the eyes of the battle hardened, who at the end were left struggling to find words to summarise the occasion.
The only way to feel the noise was in the main downstairs part of the Odeon, in front of the stage. Good luck to those who preferred to be upstairs in the balcony socialising but for those who realised the significance of this event, that was not an option. This was the last time we would ever walk out of Hammersmith Odeon after a Motörhead gig.
One half of Saxönhead as Phil collects his Riff Lord award
The spirit of Lemmy was here tonight as the rock and Metal world turned out in force to pay tribute to a man whom the word "legend" really does apply, and then some. "Superfans" had travelled from Boston, USA, Hamburg, Asia and from all over the UK to be here tonight and it was wonderful to see them all.
The twenty minute video that started the evening's proceedings, a compilation of the best parts of the 'Live Fast Die Öld' and 'The Guts And The Glöry' documentaries - both of which are available on YouTube - interspersed with thirty second clips of some of Motörhead's greatest songs in chronological time order was tremendous to see. It felt like we really were at a real Motörhead gig, as we had been many times before over the years. The sights, sounds, smells and intoxicants all remained as they always have been. The spirit is intact and always will be.
Defender Of The Faith, Metal Hammer Editor Alexander Milas
After the video performance, the mighty and formidable Amon Amarth were the first band to perform live and after their utterly stunning performance at Download on Sunday lunchtime, where many pundits rated them as the best band of the whole festival, anticipation was high.
The Swedish Viking Metallers more than matched that expectation with a truly brilliant display of fantastical musicianship, tremendous songs, a blinding stage show and a raport with the audience that many other bands of higher stature never achieve. As is normal at the Golden Gods, they only got a three song time slot but how they made it count with 'Pursuit Of Vikings' '
First Kill' and 'Twilight Of The Thunder God' all utterly majestic.
Johan Hegg, Amon Amarth
Amon Amarth. Smokin'
And they brought their Viking ships that were so ominous at Download on Sunday lunchtime too. All of the band wore official Motörhead t-shirts, apart from bassist Ted Lundström who sported a Jack Daniels shirt.
Johan Hegg was most certainly aware of the enormity of the situation as he spoke heartfelt words about our hero and he and his Viking warriors put in a performance that would have had Lemmy praising them highly.
Lzzy Hale, Halestorm
Next up was Halestorm who put in a significant performance. They have a really great sound going on and frontlady Lzzy Hale is super-confident, loud and rowdy but tuneful at the same time and is basically a top performer. Her band is in place now; they all look great, sound great and act like they are great (which they should) but they lack classic songs right now.
Lzzy is just 32-years-old right now and Halestorm are just three albums into a potentially fulfilling career. Another three albums down the line and they could really be big stars. Lzzy has the potential to be the Heavy Rock Suzi Quatro and we're backing her to go far, if her team of skilled musicians can come up with a real anthem to showcase her obvious talents.
Joe Duplantier, Gojira
Gojira were exemplary, as always. The Duplantier brothers have really nailed "tech metal" and are a joy to watch live. Joe mesmerised the Odeon crowd during 'The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe' by playing that seriously complex guitar refrain at the same time as singing the vocal, which goes down a totally different road.
Gojira consistently impress. They're not from the "mainstream" of Heavy Metal or Hard Rock but they belong and are forging their own path and doing their own thing and they are to be praised for it.
Anarchy in Hammersmith Odeon
The awards took place in-between bands and the highlights on stage were Dave Mustaine, who was magnificent, Anthrax, Nikki Sixx, who with his new brand of music and humble, dignified speech tonight is a different and better character these days and former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison who received the Golden God Award. During his emotional acceptance speech, he opened up about what he was going through "towards the end" of his time with Slipknot.
"Towards the end of my career in Slipknot, I got really, really sick with a horrible disease called Transverse Myelitis. I lost my legs; I couldn't play anymore. It was a form of Multiple Sclerosis, which I don't wish on my worst enemy," said the diminutive sticksman.
"I got myself back up and I got myself in the gym and I got myself back in fucking therapy to fucking beat this shit. And if I could do it, you could do it. It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, more than fucking anything."
Good luck to Joey. Whether you like Slipknot or not, people like him are keeping our music alive and delivering Heavy Metal to a new generation.
The award of Riff Lord went to Motörhead's Phil Campbell who was led out on stage to a rapturous welcome. It was certainly great to see him back on the big stage again and he made a superb acceptance speech. His appreciation was heartfelt, as were his words of remembrance and respect to fallen comrades. Everyone in the Odeon felt that one.
And then it was time for the main event and the gallant and noble Sir Biff of Byford entered the stage with his mighty Metal crusaders all taking up position behind their glorious leader.
'Heavy Metal Thunder' was enthralling, 'Motorcycle Man' was thunderous and 'Princess Of The Night' was spellbinding. Saxon are a glorious British institution who are a shining example to all who venture into the jungle of the music business and they have not just paid their dues, they have bought and resold them a hundred times, pawned them off again, traded them in with the Devil and found them discarded in a bargain bucket somewhere before majestically rising again to their rightful place at the very pinnacle of British Heavy Metal.
The other half of Saxönhead
But tonight wasn't about Barnsley's finest export; it was about a man who Biff was friends with for most of their adult lives, a comrade in arms and a colleague who constantly supported his fellow countryman the same way he was supported in return and with the same amount of mutual respect they both deserved and earned.
After that blistering three song repartee, guitarists Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn, along with drummer Nigel Glockler departed the stage and Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee entered the fray to complete a four piece line-up that we have unofficially monickered SAXÖNHEAD. The skilled and efficient long-time Saxon bass player Tim "Nibs" Carter completed the line-up.
'Ace Of Spades' started proceedings and it was just outstanding. What a pleasure and a privilege it was to see Phil and Mikkey play together again and who better to front their return than Biff, a total Heavy Metal mountain who has earned all the plaudits and compliments he rightfully receives.
Biff did a superb job on 'Born To Raise Hell', pulling off the Ice T and Whitfield Crane parts with consummate ease while Nibs burnt off his excess energy by being a whirlwind on the stage. Phil and Mikkey were both relishing this and playing their absolute best and the whole performance was blistering.
Final song, 'Overkill', had the Odeon spellbound and an enormous Devildriver-size moshpit broke out that took up a sizeable portion of the ground floor of the venue.
It was all over too quickly but it will live in the memory for ages to come. Lemmy, creator and leader of Motörhead, was paid tribute to in fine style tonight by comrades whose respect he had unconditionally earned and an audience whose love carried him through right to the end.
"I never liked playing Hammersmith. It was always a terrible fucking sound," said Lemmy on 'The Guts And The Glöry' döcumentary (24:15). We reckon he enjoyed tonight. The sound was good, the bands were immense, especially SAXÖNHEAD, and he was there, for sure. His spirit will never die.
Anthrax and friends
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