Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons @ Gagarin 205

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The new concert season kicked off at Gagarin 205 with Phil Campbell and his sons, two Greek bands, Beggars and Full House B.C. and only a few people.

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The evening started with Beggars whose new album “The Day I Lost My Head” just came out. Despite the awkwardness that follows the first band to lay foot on stage at the time when the crowd is gathering at their feet the power trio had loads of energy and big smile making a great performance. It’s obvious that Beggars are in top form and they are tight, their stage presence is excellent and their songs are very good also. Yiannis Passas has great passion and feeling on both his vocals and guitar playing and that’s what gives them authenticity and a personal character that sometimes new bands lack. Beggars is an example to follow for new bands with their five albums and their continuous improvement.

Motorchrist/Book Of Days/ That Road/ Modern Baby/ Lightning/ Devil’s Highway/ Not My War/ I Don’t Know

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Up next were Full House B.C., Rotting Christ’s bassist, Vaggelis Karzis. Powerful and solid they blasted the audience with their American bred sound that winks cheekily at Black Label Society. Energy wasn’t something they ever lacked and surely what’s worth mentioning is their great setup on stage, their image with the same style clothes and their consistency to what they do. Having seen the band several times I can testify that every time they improve and get better.

Burn Me Inside/ Black Shade/ Hollow God/ Black Empty Box/ Bring The Chaos/ Nooone Is Safe/ Cannot Be/ Me Against You/ No Retreat

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The clock was almost at 22:30 when “Highway Starr” was playing through the PA as the hedliners got on stage in front of approximately 350 people in their first appearance in Athens. Phil Campbell got his usual spot on the left of the stage, singer Neil Starr was standing in the middle, Tyla and Todd got on the right on bass and guitar respectively, while behind them on the riser was Dane. They kicked off with “Big Mouth” and “Welcome To Hell”, that were accompanied “Rock Out” the first Motorhead song of the evening. In general the band’s style is quite cool. Phil is cool and his sons are the same, the exception was Starr who has running and head banging living every moment of the show singing every song passionate. It’s not his fault that he can’t sing all Motorhead’s songs as good. He is very good at their own stuff.

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The lion’s share on the setlist was the songs from the greatest rock’n’roll band on the planet. That’s an issue on it’s own since this is a band that doesn’t describe itself as a Motorhead tribute band. They have one full album released and an EP, but by playing only six songs off them (seven if you add the cover of “Silver Machine”) shows me that they don’t have confidence on their own material and are counting on Phil’s name and Motorhead’s legacy. Personally, I am not happy listening to Motorhead’s songs like this… especially on “Born To Raise Hell” the wonderful Neil Starr wasn’t singing but talking. Of course it’s unfair to make any comparison, but it’s also inevitable. When we talk about a band like Motorhead, which is iconic and all metalheads adore the expectations go through the roof, and it should. Nobody asks from Phil and Mikkey to repeat their past because without Lemmy around that’s impossible. They say that they talk about doing something as a tribute when the time and all circumstances are right, and I cannot agree more. So, what is that Campbell is doing? In my opinion the band should stick to its guns, play more original material and leave the glorious past of father Phil aside. I’d be much more interested to check out more Phil Campbell And The Bastards songs and also listen to one, two, even three Motorhead songs and have a separate tribute to Lemmy at some point. Phil shouldn’t “sell” himself so cheap.

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Maybe, that’s one reason that the attendance was so poor. On the other hand it’s true that weekdays are pretty tough for gigs and it’s even worse when it’s the end of August. Plus, there are a lot of shows coming up in the next two months, so maybe all that could be the reason for the turnout.

Words/Pictures: Yiannis Dolas

Big Mouth/ Welcome To Hell/ Rock Out/ Deaf Forever/ Freak Show/ Born To Raise Hell/ Get On Your Knees/ R.A.M.O.N.E.S./ Ringleader/ Dark Days/ Silver Machine/ Ace Of Spades/ Highrule  Just Cos’ You Got The Power/ Going To Brazil/ Orgasmatron/ Rock’n’Roll

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