Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons (2018) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 25, 2018    
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Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons - Rebellion, Manchester (UK) - 18 November 2018

The redemptive power of Rock. Some shocking bad news on the way to this gig. Nothing we could do, no way to help except be in contact. Decision taken to go to the gig and let this excellent band of (mostly) brothers provide a wonderful diversion.

'The Age Of Absurdity' is a brilliant commercial Rock album and seen in a supporting role in Manchester a while ago, they were almost show stealers. Here, the place was packed and expectation was high.

They didn't disappoint for one moment. Could be seen as good old time Rock 'n' Roll, but there's something more, this band have groove to spare. Phil afforded his own space stage right as usual, as an icon of an age should, his sons crowd at the other side, watched with equanimity and curmudgeonly but fatherly pride by Phil. Then there's Neil Starr, hair flailing, bouncing from one foot to another like a prizefighter, he has an excitable stage presence and a voice that's all there and then some. This is a find and a half, he realises he mustn't dominate so he never takes the songs as his, just fits in. Tonight 'Big Mouth' starts with a surprising Indie vibe, but when a hammering 'Step Into The Fire' followed, we know they've found their sound.

And the songs were delivered with a minimum of fuss but maximim of attitude, the mix doesn't try to shake your fillings and only special songs can sound good when the volume is lowered. 'Freak Show' has a meaty bass, 'Born To Raise Hell' becomes a great singalong, in fact Starr splits us for 'Get On Your Knees' and this Panto moment was so well stewarded, it became a highlight.

Campbell is cool. He's accorded that accolade through his work with an icon of cool, but he just is, nothing to prove, coming to the front to slay with solos, peeling off the notes for the huge attack of 'Ringleader' and enjoying the middle finger crowd selfie.

Do you need to ask? Lemmy was celebrated, but 'Silver Machine' was refreshingly chosen and we rushed to meet the song. Well, of course, 'Ace Is Spades' was a rambunctious treat, thrown out towards the end of the set to fend for itself. And the encores worked too; who can argue with 'Bomber'? But a surprising choice of 'Going To Brazil' delighted both me and a gent next to me who screamed every word.

What a great night. Fun Rock 'n' Roll with real quality and surprising groove. Shocked Steve and Devastated Debbie got the right medicine. Thanks Phil. Thanks Bastards.

Steve Swift

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