Review: Motorhead, Clutch and Valient Thorr at Pop's, Sunday, February 20
|Clutch's Neil Fallon|
Bearded vocalist Neil Fallon was a mesmerizing front man who gestured with well-timed hand jabs and other animated movements. His reverb-enhanced voice had tingles of genteel soul and even faint hints of gospel; it's clear he could easily cross over into other genres beyond metal if he wished. Still, in the end, Clutch felt somewhat odd-man-out in the lineup. That's not a knock on the quality of its music-- over two decades of touring has made the group a solid, sludgy machine. But after Valient Thorr's livewire thrash - and before Motörhead's speed-sleaze - the group's stoner-bro vibes felt out of place.
(Below review of Valient Thorr written by Robin Wheeler)
Valient Himself of Valient Thorr started the night by yelling, "This place is straight out of Roadhouse. It's an ass-kicking joint. Now let's rip out some hearts!" And that the band did, launching into "Mask of Sanity" and dedicating it to headliners Motörhead, as the crowd crushed toward the stage.
Todd Owyoung Valient Himself of Valient Thorr
"Infinite Life" also received a dedication, to Ms. Pac-Man. The quip was rather tongue-in-cheek for a song soaked in the inevitability of death, a theme which recurred throughout the half-hour set. The blur of high-speed guitars and thrash ended on a positive note: Valient Himself declared, "We stand for peace and equality and sweaty rock and roll. We hope you do, too."
The crowd had a somewhat-muted response after being asked if it was familiar with Motörhead's 2008 album, Motörizer. (Lemmy took the halfhearted reaction in stride.) He later introduced "I Got Mine" as a song "from 1983 - older than all of you." A cheeky observation, but it wasn't quite right: The age range within the crowd was impressive - from underage kids to grizzled metal grandpas.
In fact, the scene at Motorhead is almost as entertaining as the band itself. A dude in a Slayer T-shirt started talking to me and asked if I wanted to get closer. When I politely declined, he looked at the stage from my vantage point - right in the line of Lemmy sight - and said something to the effect of, "Dude, it's Lemmy!" Another man was beside himself at being there, as he told me he had waited thirty-four years to see the band.
The diversity of scenes was impressive, too - punks, hipster metalheads, teenage deviants, creepy metal dads, metal lifers, beardos, stoners, hipster douchebags, Pop's lifers and everyone in between showed up.
(Setlists coming later today...)