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MOTÖRHEAD No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith Box Set

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Monday, June 28, 2021 @ 8:09 AM


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MOTÖRHEAD
No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith
Box Set
BMG




The 40th anniversary box sets from MOTÖRHEAD are coming fast and furious these days. The 1979 set showcasing Overkill and Bomber came out in October 2019 and the Ace Of Spades extravaganza was issued last October. Now comes the No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith package nine months later.

But that shows just what an incredible roll the “three amigos” lineup of Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke and Philthy Animal Taylor was on at the time, after an almost abortive start not long before that. No Sleep would cap that incredible two-plus year run by topping the British charts upon its release in June 1981 – and then fortune would just as soon turn on the band. A year later, following the release of Iron Fist, Fast Eddie was gone, part of a long series of downs and ups MOTÖRHEAD would experience over its career.

But at this juncture, the band was firing on all cylinders. Touring on behalf of the mighty Ace Of Spades, MOTÖRHEAD recorded a series of shows during its five-date Short Sharp Pain In The Neck Tour – the reference to London’s Hammersmith Odeon was from the much more extensive Ace Up Your Sleeve tour a few months prior that climaxed with four shows at that venue alone – and packaged the best of the batch for what would become one of hard rock/metal’s definitive live albums.

The band’s lean, fearsome headlining set at the time was not long enough for a full double album, so a few of the tracks ended up being omitted in favor of a single disc release. And as such, No Sleep, which opens with the landmark “Ace Of Spades” and wraps up 10 songs later with the namesake “Motörhead”, boasts as monumental a 40 minutes of live “rock and roll,” as Lemmy insisted on calling the band’s rabble, as was ever captured on vinyl, and some memorable soundbites to go with them. From the locomotive “Overkill” and “The Hammer” that Lemmy dedicates “to Little Philbert” to the chugging “No Class” (“this one is for me and Eddie”) and “Capricorn” (the “slow one so as you can get mellowed out”) to “We Are The Road Crew” with its “Woooaaarrrggghhhh!” intro bellow from “the loudest voice in any roadcrew, G.R.,” the album is a genuine classic in every sense.

The full box set more than makes up for the omissions of 40 years ago, offering not only a remaster of the original album, but bonus live tracks, soundcheck recordings and three of the tour’s full shows from which No Sleep’s shortened track list was culled. In all, there are 71 live cuts jammed onto four CDs – and clocking in at nearly 4 hours and 50 minutes.

Along with all that music, other goodies in the package include: The Story of No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith, told through previously unpublished and new interviews with the people who were on the road at the time; never before seen photos and rare memorabilia; double-sided, A3 concert posters from 1981; a reproduction USA ’81 tour pass; MOTÖRHEAD “England” plectrum; 1981 European tour badge; reproduction Newcastle City Hall ticket; and a Port Vale gig flyer post card. The set is also available in more modest two-CD/three-LP formats that, while minus most of the accoutrements noted above, includes the bonus tracks and a full concert recording from the March 30, 1981, Newcastle City Hall date featuring “Over The Top”, “Shoot You In The Back”, “Jailbait”, “Leaving Here”, “Fire, Fire”, “Too Late Too Late” and “Bite The Bullet”/“The Chase Is Better Than The Catch” that were left off the original No Sleep.

Either way, you really can’t lose. No Sleep captured this MOTÖRHEAD lineup at the absolute height of its powers, and is a righteous celebration of the band in all its glory. Indeed, as fate would have it, it would arguably never be that good for Lemmy, Eddie and Philthy again.

5.0 Out Of 5.0


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