Gig Review: Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons / Leader of Down – G2, Glasgow (11th November 2018)

We’re well and truly into that time of year. The clocks have gone back, festivals are beginning to show what they have to offer next Summer and every band that can justify it are touring the UK. For a start, all three rooms at Glasgow’s Garage already have queues to get into their respective gigs and looking at what else was in and around town, the discerning rock fans made the right choice with this one.

Leader of Down take to the stage to a rapidly-filling G2 and the four-piece are intent on making the most of their time. The growing crowd is immediately receptive to them. With their bluesy, boogie-infused hard rock, it’s a great fit for what is to follow. Whilst Würzel may not have seen the album’s release, his influence is all over the music with “Killing Rain” notably the last song he ever recorded. Elsewhere, “Children of Disease” is dedicated to Phil Campbell and Whitfield Crane and sounds exactly what a Motörhead song would have sounded like if Crane sang with that era. Meanwhile, “Punch & Geordie” is straight from the same era. Doing exactly what a support band should do, they warm the crowd up nicely and they’re damn good at it to boot, as a solid live act and winning over the crowd with ease.

As Guns N’ Roses’ “Think About You” is cut short, Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, followed by Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” signals the arrival of Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons. With the Bastard Sons decked out in their matching denim cut-offs and Campbell Sr in a t-shirt of everyone’s favourite fictional theoretical physicist, Sheldon Cooper, they batter their way through “Big Mouth”. Immediately, the crowd is as energetic as the band and the five-piece have asserted their control and don’t relent for a second for the remainder of the night.

With much of The Age of Absurdity featuring in the set, as is expected from them, Motörhead songs are peppered throughout such as “Rock Out”, “Orgasmatron”, “The Game” and of course, “Born to Raise Hell”. Whilst it’s these songs that has the crowd at their most energetic, their own material isn’t met with cold indifference by any stretch. The early appearances of “Step into the Fire” and “Freak Show” have people roaring their approval, nodding their heads, jumping and singing along. Elsewhere, “Get On Your Knees” has vocalist Neil Starr split the room in half for the usual Phil Campbell versus the Bastard Sons to scream the title. And like when they played in the upstairs room with Ugly Kid Joe (despite what Mosh said), Phil’s side was louder.

Whilst Campbell may have his name on the band, the focus is on all five equally. As the Bastard Sons have brought their own influences to the table, there’s brash punk moments mixed with straight-forward hard rock and even that is twisted to break the normal conventions. The band are tighter than ever as a live act as Campbell trades chunky riffs with Todd’s snarling fretwork. Tyla holds down the low end on the four strings as his bass rumbles menacingly and Dane pushes his finessed drum work to the limits.

The sludgy blues rocker “Dark Days” brings it down a notch before their rendition of “Silver Machine” has the crowd at their most energetic, people in black all across the room jumping and singing along as if their lives depended on it. It’s dedicated to all the Motörhead members no longer living, especially appropriate on the anniversary of “Philthy Animal” Taylor’s passing. Then, Starr asks us to say “Fuck you, Tyla Campbell” and although he was very nice in our interview, it had to be done before he dropped his pick which encourages Starr to go one further, requesting the crowd to repeat after him “Fuck you, Tyla Campbell. Can’t even hold a pick, you prick!” But it introduces that bassline and they rattle through a ferocious rendition of “Ace of Spades” before the closer of “High Rule”.

The air raid siren signals the encore and appropriately, they take on “Bomber” before David Bowie’s “Heroes” is dedicated to everyone in the armed forces with today being Remembrance Sunday. It’s not the Motörhead rendition of the song, instead, they put the Bastard Sons stamp on it before “Going to Brazil” ends the evening. The band are back in February supporting Slash and if you’ve still to see them on this current UK tour, you’re in for a treat as they’re just warming up.

Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons: official | facebook | twitter | instagram

Leader of Down: officialfacebook | twitter

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Stub Mandrel
November 25, 2018 8:42 PM

This was one of the best gigs I’ve been to, up there with seeing bands like Motorhead, Sabbath and Hawkwind at Hammersmith, in the days when the audience was 50-% leather, 50% denim and 50% afghans…. Neil Starr is an excellent frontman but the best bit was seeing just how much Phil was enjoying himself, this was no going through the motions, this was a band at the top of their game, let’s hope they follow up with another great album (and a live one?) Kudos to Leader of Down too, great when the main band and support clearly have… Read more »

Reply to  Stub Mandrel
November 26, 2018 11:30 PM

You’re welcome, Stub!

Reply to  Stub Mandrel
December 6, 2018 11:43 PM

Having seen Phil perform a couple of times before (once Glasgow, once Bloodstock) he just seems to be a natural showman. He lives for being up on that stage and it shows!