MotÃ¶rhead Prove They Are Ready for the Hall of Fame — Live Review
It was an uncharacteristically cold night in downtown Los Angeles as Noisecreep approached Club Nokia. The line of fans waiting to go through the venue’s metal detectors looked like a snaking river of black band t-shirts. All the usual t-shirt suspects were well-represented — Slayer, Iron Maiden — but one particular image seemed to overtake the rest buy its sheer numbers: Snaggletooth, the fanged beast that serves as the symbol of Motörhead. The legendary band was about to play the last show in support of its fantastic new album, ‘The Wörld Is Yours,’ and the excitement was palpable.
Motörhead wasted no time with intros, opening with 2000’s ‘We Are Motörhead.’ The song’s go-for-the-jugular pace and punky guitar riffs were introduction enough. Lemmy Kilmister looked every bit the part of the rock god: dressed in black from head to toe, the silver skull and crossbones on his hat shined brightly under the hot stage lights. Lemmy’s voice sounded as reckless and powerful as ever as the singer tore into songs like ‘Get Back in Line’ and ‘I Got Mine’ seemingly without any regard for his throat.
Longtime guitarist Phil Campbell looked like he was having the time of his life. Campbell’s meaty guitar tone is Motörhead’s secret weapon, an integral part of band’s sound. The Welsh axeman strummed away with a mile-wide smile on his face and offered jokes between songs, a few of which even managed to make the famously stoic Kilmister laugh.
After decades of playing some of their older songs, you might forgive Lemmy and his cohorts for looking a bit bored. However, Motörhead played their golden oldies with as much gusto as the newer numbers. On the playful ‘The Chase Is Better Than the Catch,’ Campbell and Kilmister both looked like they were back in their club days, having a blast.
Anyone who’s seen their share of metal shows knows how painfully dull a drum solo could be, but Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee managed to treat the crowd to a rhythmic beating both entertaining and impressive. Dee’s speedy footwork on the bass drum proved he could easily play in a technical death metal band if he so desired. An old-school showman, Dee stood up and asked the crowd to cheer along to the rhythm, a move he may have learned from his days of playing in King Diamond‘s band.
Late in the set, Motörhead were joined by Cherie Currie, former vocalist for L.A.’s The Runaways, and Lemmy’s son, guitarist Paul Inder. The duo accompanied the band on ‘Killed by Death,’ with Curie’s sneering vocals lending the classic song a new color. A few songs later, Motörhead closed out their set with ‘Ace of Spades,’ the group’s most famous song. For their encore, Motörhead blazed through the title track to their 1979 album, ‘Overkill.’
People always make a big deal about the Rolling Stones still performing concerts at their age, but here was 65-year-old Kilmister making musicians born 40 years after him look like hacks. Nights like this remind us that it’s a travesty that Motörhead aren’t already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, we missed openers Valient Thorr, but did manage to catch a few songs by Maryland boogie-metallers Clutch. Years of tireless touring have treated Neil Fallon’s voice quite well: the singer hasn’t sounded this great since their early Earache Records releases. We definitely won’t miss them the next time they come to town.