When Motorhead folded after Lemmy’s death in 2015, everyone wondered what would become of guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee. Would they stay together and form another band? As it turns out, that wasn’t to be, these days Mikkey sits on the drum throne for German metal titans the Scorpions, and Phil Campbell turned his side project while he was in Motorhead; Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band into something permanent and changed the name of the band to Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. The Bastard Sons in question are of course Phil’s actual sons Todd, Tyla and Dane on guitar, bass, and drums respectively.

 A self-titled EP was released in 2016 and they released their debut album ‘The Age of Absurdity’ in 2018 on Nuclear Blast records. The album was well received, winning best album at the 2018 Metal Hammer awards. The band succeeded in salvaging some of the Motorhead swagger with a modern edge that helped them fit in to the NWOCR movement.

 Their second album ‘We’re the Bastards’ which was released in the autumn of 2020, followed on nicely from the debut with more fist pumping anthems. In 2021 the band parted ways with vocalist Neil Starr. Andrew Hunt from Buffalo Summer/Valhalla Awaits filled in for some live dates including a headline spot at 2021’s Steelhouse Festival while the band looked for a full time replacement for Starr.

In January 2022 the band announced Bootyard Bandits front man Joel Peters as their new vocalist after completing a UK tour with PCATBS. The band have always been a force to be reckoned with live and with this latest release ‘Live in the North’ we have been given a great insight into just how good they are as a live unit. I have been lucky enough to have seen the band live numerous times now, and they never disappoint. The album was recorded in 2021 at the Independent in Sunderland and the track listing has a dusting of both studio albums as well as some Motorhead classics and material from Phil’s solo album ‘Old Lions Still Roar’.

Kicking off with a rousing rendition of ‘We’re the Bastards’ the band are on fire throughout the set. Joel Peters sounds like he’s always been there fronting the band, he really is a fine front man, engaging the crowd and singing his heart out. The Bastard Sons themselves are all fine musicians and play a blinder here as always. Drummer Dane is world class and shows his fine-tuned chops here driving the band all the way. Todd and Tyla sound great, Todd’s crunching guitar sound works perfectly and Tyla has that rumbling bass sound that’s worthy of every Lemmy lick he plays. Then we have Papa Campbell himself, still playing like his life depended on it every night, he really is an inspiration. ‘Bite My Tongue’ swaggers along nicely, ‘Rock Out’ sounds revitalised here with a little more pace than the Motorhead original. ‘Spiders’ grooves along with a riff that Tony Iommi would be proud of. ‘Son of a Gun’ is an absolute belter of a track that sounds so much better live. Motorhead anthem ‘Born to Raise Hell’ is full of rock n roll boogie and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. ‘High Rule’ is another track that sounds better live with its double time chorus that Dane has a ball with. ‘These Old Boots’ pumps along nicely with Peters taking on the vocals that Dee Snider of Twisted Sister provided on ‘Old Lions Still Roar’ with ease.

We are then treated to a breakneck speed version of ‘Ace of Spades’ which rolls into a clap along rendition of Hawkwind classic ‘Silver Machine’. ‘Ringleader’ brings us back to the band’s original material with a bang before we are ‘Going to Brazil’. ‘Dark Days’ does what it says on the tin, a brooding chug fest that comes into its own in a live setting. ‘Big Mouth’ from the bands debut EP is a mainstay in the bands set and always goes down a storm. The album closes with a fantastic execution of Motorhead’s ‘Killed by Death’.  

Live in the North’ is a solid representation of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons in a live setting. A great listen from start to finish, and with 15 songs and just under an hour’s duration, you get plenty of bang for your buck. As I write this, the band are taking pre orders for a signed CD version or a T shirt and CD bundle. Get on it quick people! Oh, and fuck you Tyla Campbell!!


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Author: Kenny Kendrick