Finding My Religion: Motorhead

First the obvious: this Friday at Club Nokia MOTORHEAD are playing.  You should go, and most definitely should enter our ticket giveaway (details below).  DEVO is coming next week.  Fuck all ya prejudices because you should go to that one too.

I’ve written lots about MOTORHEAD, and I could write lots more, but this one isn’t going to be too heavy or profound.  Just a few observations from a veteran of this institution.

At this point, MOTORHEAD are a finely honed machine, and the difference between a good MOTORHEAD album or show and a bad one is so small, it sometimes takes an expert to make the call.  Gone are the days of Lemmy pounding the fuck out of the sonic spectrum with everyone else just looking for a space, any space, for their instrument to be heard.  This current band—together for well fifteen years or so now—are tight.  The guitar is modern. The bass is Lemmy.  The drummer is phenomenal.  You can’t go wrong, but will you be transformed?  Well, the odds are looking good. As one who has attended many Motorhead shows, I’m thinking this could be a good gig because:

  • They played this venue last time around.  A Motorhead show requires a solid and familiar sound system.  The bass and guitar have to be heard separately, but that's not so easy because the lines are real close.  It has to be loud enough to transport the listener to a Hawkwind like acid plane.  (Though the “pit” and “VIP” policies at this venue totally blow and could fuck up a good MOTORHEAD experience if you can’t get in the right spot to hear the leakage of your own brain.) The band plays fast and tight, so it can’t all be a blur.  They used to always play at the HOB which had good sound, then I saw them at the Wiltern and it was a fuzzy trebly mess (or maybe it was the fact that I just got off a plane from Reno where I had been drinking since noon), but my little brain was confused.  The last show at Nokia sounded great.
  • The setlists popping up look pretty decent.  A fair amount of songs off the newer records.  Here are my random thoughts on what we should hear:
    • Lemmy says people want to hear the “hits” like “Metropolis” and “Stay Clean.”  Huh?  The highlight of "Metropolis" is the crash of the snare in the intro, but “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch” has that killer snare plus a lot more.  And while that bass solo in "Stay Clean" sure is nifty, Lemmy could toss one of those in any song.  Spring us a surprise.  
    • I’m glad to see “Just ‘Cos You Got The Power (That Don’t Mean You Got The Right)” on the setlists, and not just because I approve of it politically.  The wah intro by Phil Campbell is always magic and the groove is crushing.  English class warfare.  Same reason I like Pulp.
    • I could do without “Going to Brazil” again.  I know, MOTORHEAD is a lot like Chuck Berry, and Chuck Berry rocks.  The point was made seven tours ago.  Duly noted.
    • Also pleased to see “I Got Mine”.  That song was fuckin religion to me at one point.  Don’t know why, it just sounds like perseverance.  Phil cheats a bit on the solo, and it’s a little too fast live, but the speed freak nature of Motorhead creeps in to the subtlest of stylings.  It’s like being alive – that was fun, but let’s get to the next beat, turn the next corner.
    • Finally, MOTORHEAD should dig up some old ground.  Thre's gold in them “deep album cuts”.  We’ve heard the same core tunes for 20 years now.  I’m not coming back because I need to hear “Overkill” again.  I’m coming back for a life-affirming dose of the truth.  How about a slow, menacing number like “Don’t Believe a Word” or “Keys To the Kingdom?”  The latter was pure poetry from Inferno, arguably the best MOTORHEAD album in the last ten years.  “Congratulations . .. God hates your guts . . . the keys to the kingdom mean nothing at all.”  I’m getting old enough to know some folks who have attained “success”, and truer words have never been spoken.  

So courtesy of Goldenvoice, we have 5 pairs of tickets to give to you, our loyal readers.  Contact us here or email thecityofdevils@gmail.com with your full name and any thoughts about what your ears want to hear Friday night.  You won't be hearing shit when it's over.  All winners will be announced by Thursday at noon.  The rest of you go buy some tickets by clicking on this flyer.    

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