Home Gigs Gig Review : Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons @ The Garage, Glasgow

Gig Review : Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons @ The Garage, Glasgow

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Images and words Ritchie Birnie for MPM

With replacement singer Joel Peter from Bootyard Bandits the band came to prove a point…they are one of the best live acts in the UK.

Before I proceed I want to touch on the sadness that surrounded this tour with original support band Wolf Jaw having to pull out due to the untimely death of singer Tom Leighton. News that touched many. Tonight I am wearing my Bad Flowers t-shirt in his memory and I would like to dedicate this review to his memory, his band, his family and friends and all his fans who were still here tonight.

The band replacement for this show was the incredible Florence Black who are the red hot ticket on the live scene right now. Tonight is my third time catching them this year with one more to go at Winterstorm festival later this month.

With the stunning debut “Weight of the World” now behind them they have an incredible choice of songs to chose from which is evident on the much changed setlist from the Bokassa tour.

The boys were given 45 minutes and they did not waste one which was evident from the intense version of “Zulu” that they started with. There were a lot of old school Motorhead fans in here who had not heard of the boys before but they went down a treat with fists pumping and heads banging from the barrier all the way back to the bars.

It does your heart proud to see these boys perform and even more so as my first time catching them live was a tiny pub directly across from this venue. I will never forget how loud they were in such a tiny space and from that handful of punters they have now rocked people in their thousands with the biggest crowd I have seen them with at “Rockin the Bowl” in Sheffield and the response is always the same….They are amazing.

After “Inside Out” and “Ghost” the boys settled down to show off their lighter side with the brilliant “Sun and Moon” which for me is one of the best tracks off their debut. Once we had all caught our breath it was back to the frenetic grooves, battering drums and Bass and sprinkled with excellent fretwork.

One of the biggest changes in the band from that first time I saw them is their stage work. It is not all balls our Rock’n’Roll anymore, no, they have crafted their style and although they are still as heavy as hell with a punch like classic Mike Tyson but they can play the crowd, they can meld the songs and singer Tristan uses his voice through much more dynamics. Their stage presence, hard work and talent are what is pushing them and the roughness of the early EPs is fading into a finished article that is both heavy and accessible.

I cannot complete any review of the boys show without mention of the final track and strangely today I realised I went to see Gillan in 1981 at the Glasgow Apollo and a little know band called Budgie were supporting. 40 years between 2 shows but through those decades I witnessed two superb welsh bands pull off two excellent support slots and both play the song “Breadfan”.

The boys do this justice and then some. An extremely difficult song to sing, never mind play guitar on as well but it always puts a smile on my face and rocks me the hell out…what a way to grab your support slot and what a way to leave an audience. 

Next up is Phil and his bastard boys and I had a little trepidation coming into this gig as previous frontman Neil Starr is a mighty large pair of boots to fill but with Joel taking hold of “We’re the Bastards” as an opener he deserves the coveted denim Bastard vest for sure.

We do not know if this will be temporary but for someone to fill in for a full tour and learn all these songs and still have a crowd in the palm of his hand was enlightening to see. Us old Motorhead fans can be set in our ways but I suppose Phil manage to win us all over all those years ago and here we are still supporting the man and his brilliant brand of music.

Tonights set was filled with songs new and old, covers and songs from both albums released by Phil  in the last two years and boy was it good to see them all back on a stage and finally get to hear the songs live.

This really is one hell of a live band and they have been for some time but with two amazing albums to pick songs from the gigs just get better and better.

The night is kind of split into four sections with part one comprising of the opener, “Bite my Tongue”, “Rock Out” and “Spiders”. This was obviously to get the blood pumping and get everyone ready for “Born to Raise Hell” and boy did the pace go crazy. You saw that wry smile on Phil’s lips and you could almost hear his mind saying” now that is the Glasgow I remember”.

The tempo was kept up with “High Rule” and “Get on Your Knees” before we got to the only track from the solo album in “These Old Boots” and the only way this could have been topped was to have Dee Snider himself stroll out asking where were all the Glasgow SMFs were.

Next phase and time to set phasers to kill with “Ace of Spades” and “Silver Machine”. After we all have the chant fuck you Tyla Campbell he bursts into that bass intro that every metalhead the world over knows instantly and it was on fire.

If carlsberg done encores then this was it. The four song barrage of “Going to Brazil”, “Dark Days”, “Big Mouth” and finishing with “Killed By Death” was sublime and a stroke of genius.

We get the blues of dark Days mixed with the frenetic pace of that closing number and as the band walked off that stage we were breathless. I saw young and old go batshit crazy tonight and it just proved one thing. PCATBS is one of the best live bands in the UK…no discussion.

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