The 10 best metal gigs to ever take place at Hammersmith Apollo

Motorhead playing live at Hammersmith Apollo with the bomber
Mot\u00f6rhead with the bomber at Hammersmith in 2005 (Image credit: Neil Lupin \/ Getty)

You may have heard Metal Hammer is celebrating 30 years of defending the faith with its biggest Golden Gods ever this year. The awards show is taking over the Eventim Apollo on June 13 which, alongside honouring the greatest bands on the planet, will also see a foundation-shaking Salute to Lemmy as Motorhead’s Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee are joined on stage by Saxon.

In the build up to next month’s ceremony, we look back on those titans that have rocked the stage and shaken the walls of the Apollo through the ages.

Steel Panther (November 15, 2012)

The LA foursome brought their perfected cocktail of razor-sharp riffs and tongue-in-cheek humour to their biggest UK headline show. With a capacity crowd singing along to every word and a guest appearance by Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell, Steel Panther turned a Thursday night concert hall into Friday night’s biggest house party.

Machine Head (March 11, 2016)

Machine Head tore the Eventim Apollo a new one with the penultimate gig on their An Evening With tour. No support acts, just an epic three hour, career-spanning set; something some bands would find impossible to fill or have the energy to survive. Yet Flynn and co. looked like they could keep going until dawn.

Motörhead (June 16, 2005)

The question isn’t whether a Hammersmith Motörhead gig makes the cut, but which one to pick? While we’d point to the band’s 30th anniversary show in 2005, the honest answer is: “whichever one you were at” (then spend the next few hours arguing with friends which setlist was superior).

Black Sabbath (June 19, 1978)

Sabbath’s gig, as part of the Never Say Die! Tour, was fascinating to watch knowing the full scope of the drama behind the scenes as the original line-up celebrated their 10th anniversary. An unhappy Ozzy would quit the band in ’77, then rejoin for the album’s recording and tour – only to be fired the following year.

Megadeth (September 29⁄30, 1992)

Megadeth brought Pantera along for a two-nighter as they toured to promote Countdown to Extinction’s release. After the band spent an hour launching one blistering display of thrash metal prowess after another, they wrapped up with – what else? – a rousing cover of Anarchy In The UK.

Faith No More (July 8, 2012)

While Brixton welcomed the newly-reunited FNM in 2009, they closed off The Second Coming Tour with a two-date finale in 2012, which included the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, serving as fitting substitute for their cancelled Sonisphere headliner spot. Every FNM gig is epic – but this one included a brief cover of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up.

Slipknot (December 1, 2008)

The Des Moines metallers proved their headlining pedigree by pulling enough crowds to fill a three-night residency at Hammersmith, with a bill that also touted Machine-fucking-Head and Children of Bodom. The result was a triple serving of heavy metal that’d blast audience’s ears into the stratosphere. The year after, Slipknot were headlining Download festival.

Iron Maiden (March 20, 1982)

This was a snapshot of a band transitioning into a metal heavyweight: new singer Bruce Dickinson was winning crowds with his vocal delivery and it was mere days before the Iron Maiden dropped The Number of the Beast. More elaborate stage shows were to come, but it’s impossible to fault the band’s energy here.

AC/DC (October 21, 2003)

A band that were packing stadiums at this stage in their career meant making a Hammersmith gig feel like an intimate affair. It was a one-off special celebrating the opening of the ‘new’ Apollo, allowing fans to see one of rock’s greatest acts performing for a mere 10 quid a ticket.

Unholy Alliance III (October 30, 2008)

The third rotation of the Unholy Alliance tour arguably offered one of the best pound to riff exchange rates of any gig ticket at the time, packing as it did the combined heaviness of Slayer, Trivium, Mastodon and Amon Amarth (plus an additional competition winner opening the night).

The Metal Hammer Golden Gods is coming to the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith on June 13, featuring a live Salute To Lemmy (with Saxon and the surviving members of Motörhead), Halestorm and two more bands to be announced soon. Tickets are just £6.66 and available now.