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Motorhead – [Live]

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Tuesday, 01 March 2011

To paraphrase Johnny Cash (a.k.a. The “other” man in black, in this case), when the man comes around, everyone comes to see. In situations like that, everyone knows what's coming as well as when and where it's going to be so, when the announcement that Motörhead would be stopping to play a show in Kitchener, Ontario on their way to Toronto, not one metalhead in the southern part of the province didn't know about it, and most of them made a plan to be there.

As it turns out, a lot of them clearly did make it there.

To simply say that Elements Nightclub was sold out the night Motörhead played there on February 25, 2011 is a bit of an understatement. More accurate would be to say that people were piled into the 1500-capacity venue like tires; they were just stacked into the three-tiered room. Bouncers and security guards retreated to the tops of small risers against the walls to watch and make sure no fights broke out (not that it would have mattered, fighting through the dense crowd would have been impossible anyway) and the only reason bar backs were cutting through the mob reasonably unencumbered was because even the drunkest patron knew who had control of the cheer and gave them the widest possible passage. Other than those few, the room was a solid mass of black clothing and boots.

The opening acts were received with “personable” humor. Leading the charge was Valient Thorr and respect was paid to them, but the band was aware of what they represented – they were the first opener (“The warm-up act,” conceded Thorr singer Valient himself. “So let's warm it up in here!”), only the smallest part of the draw. They did live up to their name though, and valiantly got people warming up with their aggressive, classic brand of hard rock.. They might have even won some repeat business for when they come back on their own.

The first surprise of the night really came from Clutch – the mid-card band. After twenty-one years, Clutch knows what it means to be a mid-carder, it's really hard; your name's not big enough to make a headlining impression, but you don't have the luxury of getting the first attention that the opener does either. With that wealth of knowledge in hand, the band's plan obviously became to just blow a few receptive heads off – and the surprising thing was that they were able to do it. With a muscular lurch, Clutch just plowed the road and captured some of Motörhead's thunder for themselves while walking methodically through a set. As much as those in attendance might have been getting into the band though, the clincher was “Electric Worry” from Beale Street To Oblivion; that song was what sold every soul in the room. Every time singer Neil Fallon would punch the air and belt those blasting “Bang bang bang bang”-s, he was joined by fifteen hundred other true believers – it was incredible. After that, the band left the stage with nothing left to prove; Clutch had beaten the odds, and they proved it.

Following a short tear down and set up break (“short” might have been subjective – because of the population density of the room, there was enough time for fans to either fight their way outside for a cigarette or to the rest room – but not both), the crowd erupted as Motörhead boarded the stage, leading off with “We Are Motörhead.” Tight and solid, the band didn't break stride as they ran through “Stay Clean” and “Back In Line” – the new single from their twentieth full-length album, The World Is Yours. They sounded as imposing as ever and easily commanded the attention of every body in the room. It was awesome and the crowd was ecstatic.

Then, not too long after “Back In Line,” guitarist Phil Campbell asked the audience, “Well, this might seem like a stupid question but, if you want us to play louder, put both your arms in the air – now!”

And that's what the audience did, so the band dutifully did as commanded and what flowed forth from the speakers on the stage was as molten as a stream of lava.

Covering select songs from almost every record the band has released since 1979, Motörhead only broke the ear-splitting volume of their onslaught one more time during their set (for a really bizarre, very Pink Floyd-ian guitar solo slotted between “Rock Out” and “Thousand Names Of God”), and otherwise just sped forth like an unstoppable juggernaut through songs like “I Got Mine,” “I Know How To Die,” “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch,” “Brazil” and “Killed By Death” – dropping bombs and never looking back. Lemmy Kilmister proved that night (once again) that his voice truly is a marvel; the gravel in his throat has remained un-eroded by time and abuse – unlike that of AC/DC's Brian Johnson (who sounds like a wizened old sea dog on his best days now), Lemmy's voice endures, frozen in a state of perpetual bark; having never succumbed to the polyps that undoubtedly exist in his throat.

Of course, no Motörhead show would be complete without a full run-through of “Ace Of Spades,” which the band used in Kitchener as the crown jewel to close out their set. One brief return for another molten kick into “Overkill” for an encore, and that was the end of it all; Motörhead iron-manned its' way through an eighteen-song set that left the audience either drained of energy or full-to-brimming with beer. As they all staggered out of Elements for cabs and buses or for a long walk home, the sense of relief overpowered the stench of beer; those in the worst shape could sleep late into the next morning. They, like the band itself, would deserve the rest.

Artist:

www.iMotorhead.com/

www.myspace.com/Motorhead
www.facebook.com/pages/Mot%C3%B6rhead/
www.twitter.com/myMotorhead


Photos:

Mike Good's photo essay of Motörhead's show at Elements Nightclub – 02/25/11

Tour:

Motörhead's tour in support of The World Is Yours continues. For a complete list of dates, click here .

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Motorhead – [Live]

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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Not that I would ever even think to compare him to a glass of wine (a fifth of Jack Daniels is much more appropriate) but at sixty three years old, Lemmy only seems to get better with age. And while Motörhead has not once disappointed me in the dozen or so times I've seen them over the years, this show was by far my favorite. To see a band on top of its game after so many years was pretty amazing, to say the least.

As he casually strolled out onto the stage and up to his microphone before tearing into "Iron Fist," (which has always been my favorite Motörhead song) it was pretty obvious that tonight's show was going to be something special. As soon as I heard his opening bass riff I knew that the band were about to churn out a relentlessly heavy set, and as I stood in the photo pit taking pictures of Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey, I couldn't help but to be totally blown away.

Tonight's show was the first time Motörhead has delivered a full headlining set in the Bay Area in almost five years, and the band seemed to be totally energized off of the near sold-out crowd. Guitarist Phil Campbell lay down riff after riff, and his signature guitar tone is as big of a part of Motörhead as its leader. He continues to make it all look effortless, and it was his guitar licks during "Stay Clean," Over The Top" and "Another Perfect Day" that made the older songs really stand out.

As far as drummer Mikkey Dee, what could be said about the guy that hasn't been said a million times already? He is without a doubt one of the most consistent drummers in metal, and while Matt Sorum was a good fill-in while Dee was off filming a reality show, no one can replace him and his frantic double bass drumming. And although I usually think drum solos are a boring and outdated, Dee's solo was nothing short of spectacular, and showed just what an incredible drummer he really is.

The setlist was a nice mix of new and old, and I as glad as I was to finally hear "The Thousand Names of God" live, it was the classics that everyone in the near sold-out venue wanted to hear. "Killed By Death" "Bomber" and "Metropolis" all sounded timeless, and I was beyond stoked to hear "Going To Brazil," which, in my opinion, is one if the most underrated Motörhead songs ever.

After wrapping up 90 minutes of metal perfection, Motörhead left the stage only to return with an awesome version of "Whorehouse Blues," complete with Phil on acoustic guitar, Mikkey on a smaller kit in front of the stage, and of course Lemmy on vox. The band really seemed to enjoy themselves, and I think I even say Lemmy crack a smile and do a little jig. It was a side of the band that I had not seen before, and a nice prelude to "Ace Of Spades" and "Overkill," which closed the show, but still left the fans wanting more.

Looking back on the show, I am really still in as much awe of the band as I was the first time I saw them live almost 23 years ago. To see Lemmy still up there doing his thing is pretty amazing, and I think I am now even a bigger fan of the band than I ever was. Here is hoping that they are going to stay around awhile.

Artist:

www.imotorhead.com

myspace.com/motorhead

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