Review: Motorhead, Clutch and Valient Thorr at Pop's, Sunday, February 20

motorhead_lemmy_live_2011.jpg
Todd Owyoung
At precisely 9:15 p.m., the lights at Pop's went dark. The sold-out crowd, which had been drinking (and/or tailgating) for hours, crackled up several notches as rock gods Motörhead took the stage. Lemmy Kilmister commented that it had been about ten years since the trio had last played the venue, and then introduced the set with a time-worn phrase: "We are Motörhead, and we play rock & roll." The crowd roared and reached toward the stage like rabid dogs.

And with that, the British band played a seamless, era-spanning set.

View a slideshow of photos from Motorhead, Clutch and Valient Thorr at Pop's

Reviewing what Motörhead does is difficult. First and foremost, the group is consistent. A "bad show" does not exist in Motörhead's world. The trio plays a tight, economical hybrid of punk and metal and always leaves 'em frothing for more. In fact, it's often said that Motörhead is its own genre - and nowhere is that idea truer than it is at one of the band's concerts. Lemmy's whiskey-pickled voice is a bit hoarser than it's been in the past, but somehow that just makes him even more badass. He doesn't move much on the stage, but these deliberate movements are the mark of a confident, iconic musician. Guitarist Phil Campbell whips picks into the crowd after he slashes through riff after flesh-searing riff. And drummer Mikkey Dee is just ferocious, a steady time-keeper who burns through the songs like a hot-rodding joyrider.

Motörhead's musical configuration - guitar, bass and drums - is also best described as economical. There's no fat, no fuss, no muss, no flash - just volume, head-nodding speed and good old-fashioned rock & fucking roll. About that volume, by the way: Before last night's fourth song, "Metropolis," Motörhead asked the crowd if it should play louder. (Perhaps out of deference to the photographers in the pit, the band waited until they were gone to pose the question.) The answer, of course, was a resounding yes. After some futzing with levels, the volume of the music went up significantly - and stayed loud for the duration of the night.

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Todd Owyoung
Motorhead's Phil Campbell
But Motörhead's decibel-busting is strangely calming - the inverse of white noise, yet still soothing. The same can be said about last night. You know what you're going to get at a Motörhead show. That doesn't make it boring or rote - quite the contrary. It's reassuring (and totally kickass) to hear the band kick the shit out of "Ace of Spades," "We Are Motörhead" and "Killed By Death." It's awesome to see young kids having their minds blown by Motörhead's sheer force. It's even a treat to see grown men -- some wobbling-drunk, others delirious with joy, most glassy-eyed - pumping their fists and throwing devil horns in the band's honor. Motörhead leaves a crowd satisfied. Lemmy rules. Devil horns up. Period.

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6 comments
Sergeant2
Sergeant2

What! No Mullet or Rattail count, man what a douchebag.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Good review of a freakin' awesome show. Lemmy Forever!

"ironic commenter"
"ironic commenter"

I'm confused. I met my friend Bryan at the show and he brought his 21 year old son. Bryan is a teacher and happens to have a closely trimmed beard. We all agreed how nice it was to go to a "rock" show for a change (instead of the jazz, blues or country show the we had each been to recently). Now I find out that Bryan is not, as previusly thought, 'my friend who happens to like music' and the rest of the sold out crowd are not a bunch of people "who liked the bands that were playing that night and bought a ticket".So, how do I tell if Bryan is a "creepy metal dad", a "beardo" or a "metal lifer" (because I remember listening to Led Zeppelin with him back in the 70's)? And is his son a "hipster metalhead" or a "hipster douchebag" because he had never seen any of these bands prior? It's so hard to know how to pigeon hole other people into sterotypes by their looks. Maybe, there is a chart up at RFT headquarters you could copy and distibute to make this easier.

crc
crc

If you want to quote people, you might want to make sure your quotes are accurate.

Big D
Big D

Creepy metal dads!?!? Hey....I resemble that!

crc
crc

Pretty much everything that was written about Valient Thorr in this blog is incorrect. The song is called "Infinite Lives" and the quotes given here are not correct either. Additionally, if you listened close enough to the songs or knew their music at all you would know their songs are about "peace and equality" and not mainly about "death."

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