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Motorhead At The Nokia Theatre, Friday, March 11th, 2011 with Valiant Thor And Clutch

Following Like Lemmys

If  someone had told me I’d have asked to go to a Motörhead concert a while ago, I’d have said they were out of their mind. I spent my adolescence listening to the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, and I was damn scared of metal. My brother was listening to AC/DC, but is it even metal? But what is metal anyway? Lemmy says he only plays rock and roll, and he is right.
I was stupid about metal, Friday night at the Nokia was one powerful epic experience, with two heavy acts opening for Motörhead, a long night of tough riffs and loud and louder music.
The crowd was typical heavy metal, black, dark clones of each other, all wearing Motörhead tee-shirts, heavy chains, piercing and other accessories, the only colored note being the big red Mohawk on the otherwise shaved head of one of my neighbors.

Hair seems an important feature for metal heads, like the first band seemed to have understood it: Valient Thorr was all about long hair and beard flipping in the air, pretty much embodying my idea of Heavy metal, the singer removing one by one his outfits, haranguing the crowd with his gritty but relatively high-pitched voice following the loud guitars, some of their songs behaving like a motorcycle with a violent hiccup, starting in a thunderstorm, then accelerating and slowing down. They were quite entertaining, with a lot of air guitars and tons of screaming and jumping around from Valient Himself who looked like a crazy dancing devil, either jumping outside of his box or surfing the crowd.

Clutch

Then Clutch came on stage and they were quite different, probably less wild but as loud as the previous band, building a sound with a calculated and mechanical precision, the frontman singing expressively, with a low and raucous voice, doing a lot of dramatic gestures, almost theatrical, contrasting with the seriousness and meticulous work of the guitars. It was a heavy-testosterone-charged number, executed with an almost mighty-macho attitude. They did a Cream cover, ‘Politician’ with Phil Campbell from Motörhead as a guest, showing their undeniable bluesy influence, even more obvious in their last song ‘Electric Worry’.

But it is only when Motörhead arrived on stage that the energy in the crowd took off, the rocket was launched and the g-force of music had kicked off.
Even people who hadn’t moved that much since the beginning, became agitated, suddenly pumped up and starting a chaos of surfing bodies and air rising fists and fingers.
With his usual civil-war-general attire, Lemmy was standing almost still in front of his mic the whole time, looking like a black monolithic rock than nothing could have possibly moved, fast strumming his bass guitar, and screaming with his trademark grating voice which sounded like coming from a metallic engine or a cyber returning from the dead.

If I previously talked about theatrical gesture or a certain way to behave on stage to look metal, there was nothing like that during Motörhead’s set. With them, you really have the impression you are just getting what it is, no artifice, no bullshit.
The crowd was going insane, the sound was reaching a loudness I have rarely experienced (my left ear is still fully experiencing what I am talking about), the music was becoming as concrete as a wind in fury, whipping full speed our faces, but only making Lemmy’s hair gently float.
You don’t describe Motörhead’s sound anymore, but it’s a restless beast with the help of the huge drums sets above the rest of the stage beaten to death by Mikkey Dee, Phil Campbell’s furious guitar, and the larger-than life-persona of Lemmy.

They played songs from many different albums like ‘Overkill’, ‘Inferno’, ‘Motörizer’, ‘Bomber’, ‘1916’, and of course ‘Ace of Spades’ in the encore, but far from being knowledgeable about Motörhead’s repertoire, I would thank the expert who generously shared the setlist.

For ‘Killed By Death’, they were joined on stage by a blonde lady and Paul Inder, Lemmy’s son, and ‘Just ‘Cos You Got The Power’ was dedicated to the politicians. He announced ‘Going To Brazil’ as a peaceful song – I thought it was as loud as the other ones – but Lemmy was laughing with this special restrained giggle that he also used before announcing ‘I Got Mine’ a song written in 1983.

‘But none of you were born!’ he said, … it was a young crowd indeed, but it does not matter, the Gods of metal are obviously immortal.

Setlist

We Are Motörhead
Stay Clean
Get Back In Line
Metropolis
Over The Top
One Night Stand
Rock Out
The Thousand Names of God
I Got Mine
I Know How To Die
The Chase Is Better Than The Catch
In The Name of Tragedy (with drum solo)
Just ‘Cos You Got The Power
Going To Brazil
Killed By Death
Ace of Spades
Overkill

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