Motörhead And Anvil At Club Nokia
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By Jamie Harvey
I was recovering from a serious case of White Line Fever as I walked into Club Nokia on May 14. Having just driven all over the state of California, I was happy to be wearing the freshly hand-delivered skull and crossbones boots I have worn to nearly every Motörhead show I've attended.
Starting with "I Know How To Die," Motörhead's signature volume took over the room. All night I watched to people trying to get into the limited pit area, and by song two, the rebellious spirit of this band infected the crowd behind me and there was a sudden rush past security and to the floor, taking several victims in its wake (mainly large cups of expensive beer). It would be the only commonality between this show and the Los Angeles Kings hockey playoff game going on next door. Guitarist Phil Campbell played a custom Motörhead white guitar lit up along the fretboard by green light as he did a short solo into my favorite Motörhead song, "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch."
There is always debate as to whether Motörhead are metal or rock, but given that they are from England and I had just seen the Rolling Stones in concert in Las Vegas, I'd have to say that rock underwent quite a makeover in the roughly 10 years that separated the birth of these two bands. Drummer Mikkey Dee, sitting high on a riser, was a flurry of beats, raining drumsticks and ashy blonde hair. A slightly familiar-looking gentleman joined the band on guitar for "Killed By Death" — vocalist and icon Lemmy Kilmister's son Paul, who provided the "aww" moment in the fantastic documentary Lemmy. As Motörhead launched into "Ace Of Spades," which serves as my clock alarm on many mornings, I thought about the full-bore effect Motörhead have had on the sound, look and attitude of rock.
I had spoken with a 21-year-old fan who had flown in from Canada to see his 15th Motörhead show that night, and had Lemmy's signature tattooed on his hand, proving their influence is far-reaching. Finishing the set with a Thin Lizzy cover, "Are You Ready," and then "Overkill," it was a great night for those of us who like it loud.
The show was opened by 12-year-old guitar prodigy Nik Kai's band Kemical Kill, featuring a guest appearance from Sin Quirin of Ministry. The set was followed by Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, whose members are still riding the wave created by the documentary Anvil: The Story Of Anvil. Original members Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner still smile onstage as if it's their first performance. But with the forthcoming release of their 15th studio album, Hope In Hell, on May 28, they are seasoned vets. Speaking to the crowd through his guitar pickups, Lips played "March Of The Crabs" and "666" with pure '80s vigor. Debuting a couple new tracks, Lips informed the crowd that his hollow body flying V was on "its maiden voyage," and he broke it in the Anvil way, by playing it with a vibrator. Before getting the crowd to scream for Motörhead, "the inventors of this genre," they performed their final song, one of metal's anthems, "Metal On Metal."
"March Of The Crabs"
"Hope In Hell"
"Eat Your Words"
"Metal On Metal"
"I Know How To Die"
"Over The Top"
"The Chase Is Better Than The Catch"
"You Better Run"
"The One To Sing The Blues"
"Going To Brazil"
"Killed By Death"
"Ace Of Spades"
"Are You Ready" (Thin Lizzy cover)
To catch Motörhead in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Jamie Harvey lives in Los Angeles and is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She has attended and written about more than 500 shows since 2007. You can follow her musical adventures at www.hardrockchick.com.)