Review: Motörhead live in Los Angeles

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After an eight month absence from the live circuit due to health concerns, living legend Lemmy Kilmister returned to Club Nokia to shake out the cobwebs and warm up for Motörhead's upcoming Coachella Festival appearances. Here's five things we relearned while our eardrums were being reduced to pulp.

OPENING FOR MOTORHEAD CAN BE A THANKLESS TASK

Remember those two junior high school kids from Brooklyn who went viral on the internet a few months back? They’re called Unlocking The Truth and, having taught their friend to play bass, they’re now a three-piece offering the kind of heavy/stoner metal instrumentals that would be remarkable in a band twice their age. Unfortunately, they’re up against a couple of thousand booze-hungry Motörhead fans who are playing catch up with old friends and will also ignore much of Swedish stoners Graveyard’s set. Lemmy, however, watches both bands on a big screen TV in his dressing room and insists that his guests watch them too. At least someone’s paying attention.

LEMMY IS NOT DEAD

This may seem obvious, but it’s no secret that Lemmy has had some serious health issues in the past year which forced the band to cancel numerous shows and even led to rumours of his demise. Lemmy, it seems, has other plans. “Good evening,” he grins as he struts onto the stage. “Back from the dead! We’d better get this started before I drop dead!” And then, just for good measure, they thunder into the set with I Know How To Die. Most 68 year old men potter around the garden, but since Motörhead killed your lawn in 1975 they have to be content with kicking ass.

YOU SHOULD PROBABLY SHUT UP ABOUT THE ‘CLASSIC LINE UP’

Yes, we all love Overkill and Bomber and Ace Of Spades, but, seriously, stop going on about about the ‘classic line up’. This is the classic line up, 19 years strong, everything louder and faster than everything else, and with just as many, if not more, monumental albums to their name. The set-list, too, is made up from pretty much every era and incarnation of the band, everything from Damage Case and Stay Clean to Dr Rock and a rare airing of Rock It from Another Perfect Day. If anything it’s odd that there’s not more than just Lost Woman Blues from the latest album, Aftershock, their best in 20 years.

THE ONLY THING YOU NEED IS THE ACE OF SPADES

Well, perhaps not the only thing, but there can be no doubt that this behemoth of a song pushes up the ante every time, particularly when fellow legend Slash is up there jamming along. By any measure the crowd is a raucous one tonight, far from the jaded LA audiences that so often make gigs into non-events, but when that oh-so-familiar opening riff kicks in, to open the encore, the place goes completely bat shit crazy! It doesn’t hurt that Slash sticks around for Overkill too, something he will be doing for all this current batch of shows. “The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say…”

ACTUALLY, YOU MAY ALSO NEED A DAY OFF TOMORROW…

It’s not just the hangover, though, Lord knows, there will be one. It’s not just the sore throat from drinking and smoking too much and yelling along to every song. It’s the hearing, mostly, that high pitched ringing in your ears and the constant feeling that everyone is mumbling. This is entirely normal after a Motörhead show and wearing earplugs will not help, it will just make you look like a lightweight. The scary thing is Motörhead have been doing this for nearly 40 years and they still play Overkill too fast. Think about that while you recover, and be afraid. Be very afraid. Motörhead are back.