The number of Hanoi Rocks, Thin Lizzy and Motörhead t-shirts around the venue leave us in no doubt that tonight we will be in the presence of hard rock royalty. There isn’t much time for hanging around either as Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons hit the stage at twenty past seven and launch into their signature anthem ‘We’re the Bastards’, just in case there was any doubt. Phil Campbell shared a stage with Lemmy for more than three decades, making him by some way the second longest serving member of Motörhead, and he still very much looks and sounds the part.
The furious speed metal of ‘Going to Brazil’ is served up three songs in, vocalist Joel Peters doing a great job of keeping up with the band as he delivers the rapid-fire vocals with a machine gun precision. He splits the crowd in two for the call and response of ‘Born to Raise Hell’ and it is more than fair to say that PC&TBS are doing a great job of keeping the ‘head flame alive. That is not to say they don’t have some decent songs of their own of course, the swamp like groove of ‘Dark Days’ dropping the pace and letting the band express themselves. Their forty minutes is over in the blink of an eye, concluding with an explosive ‘Ace of Spades’ that leaves the walls of the venue shaking.
Although he hasn’t played in Wolverhampton since 2013, Michael Monroe remains a regular visitor to the UK and his energetic OTT sets are always a festival favourite. Leaping around the stage with a remarkable vigor for someone who celebrated his sixtieth birthday last year, Michael and his band bring all of the sleaze and swagger you might expect and soon whip the audience into a frenzy. ‘Last Train to Tokyo’, ‘Nothin’s Alright’ and ‘Malibu Beach Nightmare’ have everyone singing along, Michael’s vocals still possessing that raw and ragged bravado that made Hanoi Rocks such an influential band for so many that followed in their wake. 2022 saw a new studio album, I Live Too Fast To Die Young with both the title track and ‘Murder the Summer of Love’ going over well with their crisp melodies and storytelling lyrics. The rallying cry of ‘Dead, Jail or Rock n Roll’ brings another top quality performance to a close.
It has been ten years since Black Star Riders emerged from the Thin Lizzy reunion and in that time they have very much carved out their own successful career, with five studio albums to their name including the recent UK Top 10 Wrong Side of Paradise. There have been a few line-up changes over the years but this has never stunted the bands progress, and with new guitarist Sam Wood making his debut on this tour they have found another gem. Grinning his way throughout the entire ninety minutes, Wood is clearly relishing the opportunity to play alongside Ricky Warwick and co. Newer material mostly makes up the first part of the show with the likes of ‘Better Than Saturday Night’ and ‘Riding Out the Storm’ making a strong impression along with the raucous cover of ‘Crazy Horses’.
Before too long it is time for Ricky to introduce Scott Gorham to the stage and BSR launch into the title song from debut album All Hell Breaks Loose, the legendary guitarist immediately making his presence felt with his incredible finesse. There will always be room for a couple of Lizzy covers at any BSR gig and ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ arrives at the mid point of the 20 song strong set, sending the audience into a state of pure bliss. By now we are into some Black Star Riders classics from their hard hitting back catalogue, Ricky roaring his way through ‘The Killer Instinct’ and ‘Before the War’, and welcoming back Michael Monroe to join in on ‘Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down’. ‘Bound For Glory’ is the signal for a fist-pumping sing-a-long and they wind up in spectacular style with ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘Finest Hour’. “Here’s to the next ten years” proclaimed Ricky; we will most definitely drink to that.
Another State of Grace
Better Than Saturday Night
When the Night Comes In
Riding Out the Storm
Wrong Side Of Paradise
All Hell Breaks Loose
Don’t Believe a Word
The Killer Instinct
Before the War
Testify or Say Goodbye
Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down
Kingdom of the Lost
Bound for Glory