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The fans had been waiting for a live record during 3 or 4 years until No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith came out, finally. The time was right, Motörhead were more acclaimed than ever and recently released the most successful work of their career, Ace Of Spades, which they introduced to the fans on stage. The Hammersmith Odeon was a desired place for NWOBHM groups to play at. Bands like Maiden, Saxon and Venom consolidated their status with legendary gigs there, thrash acts like Anthrax or Nuclear Assault as well later, even rock groups like these guys and Dire Straits with their Alchemy took the chance to record there, although it is said the sound in the Odeon was terrible. Maybe it was but some of the greatest British rock/metal concerts were played there.
Motörhead attack hard since the very first cut of the show, that devastating version of “Ace Of Spades” drove the enthusiastic audience crazy at once. Definitely, that’s the heaviest, along with other vibrant tracks like “Overkill” or “The Hammer”, which achieve total aggression and fury live with the velocity of their tempos increased in a much direct execution, stripped-down from the meticulous ways of the studio. Their stuff is even wilder and more intense than anything we could find on their previous LPs, this performance of Motörhead classics like “No Class” and “Bomber” gives us the chance to check out these guys real potential and possibilities, away from the perfection of the inevitably cold distant studio atmosphere. Those 2 in particular have nothing much to do with their original versions, if we refer to their strength, motivation and energy, which reach another level on stage. Even the casual “Stay Clean” and “(We Are The) Road Crew” obtain renewed power and presence here, with their simple melodic musical bases untouched but completely unleashed and harsh thanks to guitar and bass’ much more distorted unpolished texture, getting quite relentless. That was the heavy artillery, the rest of compositions are more peaceful and weightier. “Capricorn”, “Metropolis” for instance sound untamed and vigorous without modifying their genuine studio patterns, the band seems more disciplined on those and respect the slow tempos and melody without getting uncontrolled and raw in a quiet magic display of melancholy bluesy rock. Lemmy and co. didn’t forget about their primitive debut numbers and play a couple: “Iron Horse (Born To Lose)” and the homonym epic tune, here much energetic and violent, without the studio inoffensive production, much better defined and way heavier, becoming unforgettable moments of the set.
Best bands are always live bands who can develop their real nature and skills on stage, they get sick in the studio and prefer to prove what they can really do face to face with the crowd. That was the case of Motörhead, whose performance in this concert is superior to any studio offering they released before. The songs are fluently and passionately executed, including an absolute solid sound, more natural, spontaneous and honest because they get rid of studio strict requirements. Most of rhythms are way faster, riffs more abrasive and Lemmy’s vocals more expressive. However, they refuse to make use of any kind of improvisation or jam here; they follow the studio schemes of these compositions firmly like most of 80’s groups live, introducing neither modifications nor changes, neither unexpected sequences nor lengthier parts we didn’t hear in the LP versions before. That common method was the right choice to please the insatiable heavy metal audiences who got exhausted tremendously of the complexity and progression of 70’s classic rock bands and their 25 minute long songs. The new times and trends required simplicity and aggression like punk already determined. Motörhead certainly satisfied their fans with this completely straight material, which was advanced for its time indeed, in those days when Ted Nugent, Kiss or Sammy Hagar were considered heavy metal. Europeans like them increased the violence, the velocity, inspiring all the NWOBHM kids and future thrash and death acts. This live album was the greatest expression of truly hard rock at its best, nobody else did it this way for sure and no other non-metal band was that influential for the subgenre. A musically no. 1 record that surprisingly became no. 1 in the charts too, but most of all: It set the rules of the 80’s British movement.
So this is another of the many essential Motörhead works you should’ve listened to at least 20 times to understand everything that came later, not only the new UK wave, also the many upcoming subgenres, from grindcore to doom. The Godfathers of the NWOBHM became with No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith the most influential challenging band around, also the most popular and successful because none of their peers ever reached the top of the charts in their home country. On other hand, they didn’t intend to obtain fame and money, it came as an unexpected welcomed extra but Motörhead had always been there for the music, for the fans, not for the cash. Their victory in the charts didn’t change or affect them negatively at all.
Motörhead's “No Sleep 'til Hammersmith” is quite simply, amazing. At the height of the live album movement in the late 1970’s the market was saturated with them, some good, some not so good, and the occasional great one. Well “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith” falls under that great category.
So what makes it so great? Well there’s something special about a live album when a band connects with the energy of the crowd and uses it to play more ferocious and vigorous than ever before. Well sometimes this happens on individual songs for certain bands such as “Do You Feel Like I Do” with Peter Frampton on “Frampton Comes Alive”, or for a majority of the album, as with AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood…” does. But with “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith” this connection happens when the first note of “Ace of Spades” is struck and doesn’t give up until the last note of “Motörhead” subsides. This makes for one of the most awesome performances recorded for a live album.
Another merit of this album is the production. It is near perfect for what the band is going for. It possesses enough crowd noise to sound raw, but never becoming a nuisance. And each instrument sounds clear and crisp, and none ever gets muffled. To put it in simple terms, the production is raw without sounding bad, in other-words, great live production!
And as for song quality, this delivers with wall to wall hits! This includes of requisite favorites (most coming from “Bomber”, “Overkill”, and “Ace of Spades”, but also includes two from their self titled debut.). Another smart move on their behalf is putting “Ace of Spades” up first instead of packing it in the middle. Why is this such a smart move? Simple, it grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. All these songs on here are worthy inclusions and none will have you scratching your head as to why it was on here. Another note, is the performance: in a word, it's breakneck.
So, as you can clearly see, Motörhead's “No Sleep 'til Hammersmith”, is, with no overstatement, one of the greatest live albums ever. Period. Not only is this an essential for their fans, but listening to it will make you become one. You can’t go wrong with Motörhead's “No Sleep 'til Hammersmith”.
Ahh, god bless this damn good record.
This is a live recording of Motorhead, it's really good, best heavy metal live record ever. Ace Of Spades sounds just like the studio recording, fast, and heavy. Then come Stay Clean, there is a fantastic little drum solo in the very begining, then Lemmy begin to sing. Next song is ''Metropolis'' it sounds very very good. So it is time for ''Iron Horse/Born To Lose'' i am pretty speechless about that one, only thing i can say is: It's a great great number. And next song is We Are The Roadcrew, it sounds killer, it goes like this: Another town, another place, another girl, another face, etc.. oh, and then it's time for OVERKILL!!! It start with the little drumsolo as we all liked it, and i tell you people really shout with Lemmy on that one, you can hear more people sing than you can hear Lemmy sing, it's just great, great guitar solo's on ''Overkill'' then Lemmy just say in the mic ''BOMBER!'' you hear the fans shout ''YEEEEEEEEEEAH!!!'' and when bomber is over you hear ''the bomber fly'' as allways. The Last song is Motorhead, just in case.
Anyway great album, cound't be better, Classics live Heavy Metal!
Pretty much every metal band out there does the obligatory "live album" thingie, but only a small fraction of them comes right out of it in flying colors, Motorhead being one of them.
Now, there are two kind of live albums: a) The "live" ones, which need to be overdubbed because of bad interpretations and/or need to make them sound as close as the studio versions as possible and b) The REAL live ones, the kind that makes you feel you're right there between the audience, living the concert experience to the fullest. Needless to say, "No Sleep 'till Hammersmith" belongs to the last cathegory, and that's why is so fucking cool in the first place.
I mean, you can tell by listening to this that Motorhead was (still is?) a very competent live band, there are no major flaws in the execution of the songs except on "We are the Road Crew" were Eddie's guitar fucks up during the solo. But that's a minimum complain, after all, if you want a REAL live album you should cope with the fact that there are gonna be some mistakes. This isn't Dream Theater, this is fucking Motorhead, the fastest, ugliest rock 'n roll band in the world.
Obligatory highlights: "Overkill" slays. Pure and simple. Just listen to the solo, the absolute peak of this album. Good old Eddie is flaming, someone bring the fire extinguisher!!! Negative, just let him burn 'till the song finishes. "Ace of Spades", which doesn't come too different compared to the studio version, but rules, nonetheless. It is "Ace of Spades" i said, it is supposed to fucking rock. "The Hammer", also the two finishers "Bomber" and "Motorhead". You'll enjoy this album, in fact, you're gonna love it. Motorhead owns your soul.
(Special mention goes to the band themselves, for being so fucking intense on stage, but also to "the rawest voice...in any road crew". Hahahaha, you'll know it when you hear it :)
I got this album way back in the day for twenty cents. I am not making this up... it was on tape, and I wore it right the fuck out after a few years. Yes, it is that good. Imagine the typical Motorhead sound, with all the nice melodies combined with Lemmy's gruff vocals, all played at a reasonably fast pace, just like it should... now, add "one more". Yes, this Motorhead goes to eleven.
There's just something to be said about an album being live - when the crowd gets into it, and the band feeds off that, it's so much more interesting than sitting in a studio and hoping that the engineer is rocking out and having a good time spinning the dials. This is a pretty good quality recording - a bit on the raw side, but hey, it's Motorhead, not Sonata Craptica.
We have here most every Motorhead you would need to hear... it's a very good introduction to the early years of the band. "Ace of Spades" is their ubiquitous opener, that everyone knows, and then we get into the headbanger "Stay Clean", the slightly slower and thrashier "Metropolis", and then "The Hammer", "Iron Horse" all classics.
"No Class" is pretty nice, and then we have the awesome "Overkill", which named a band that spawned an entire genre... fuck yeah! And yes, that's the BASS that's playing that burner of a main riff. And then the song ends, and no it doesn't, and it ends, and NO IT'S BACK FOR MORE!!! Overkill indeed!
"We Are the Road Crew" is blazing fast, and "Capricorn" a bit slower but... Lemmy introduces it as a nice slow song, yeah right. "Bomber" and "Motorhead" close the album - all done excellently well, with great raw energy.
Highlights... Fucken "Overkill" and "The Hammer" are my faves, but pretty much everything on here is indispensable... Ready! Set! Bang! You need this one!