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Concert Review: Motorhead/Clutch/Valient Thorr – Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, MB 2/12/11

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Fans began lining up about 40 minutes before the doors opened, with some hoping to snag a ticket to what was rumored to be a sold out show.  It was quite warm during the day, with the snow melting, but the evening chilled us to the bones and few of us seemed dressed for the cold.

                              Phil Woods, Winnipeg Free Press

I managed to buy a pre-sale ticket several weeks ago and I was happy to see one of the ticket-less fans make it. He appeared to be in his late 50s or early 60s, which might seem odd at first but not when you consider that Motorhead formed in 1975, by a then 30-year-old Lemmy (born Ian Fraser Kilmister, December 24, 1945) and they have many older fans, although the crowd was dominated with fans in their teens to 30s.

I saw them in 2000 and 2005 at the same venue, but they sounded worse this time around. Seeing the legendary Motorhead at this stage of its career, the tail end, is such a treat that the audience doesn’t let the lack of excellent sound quality or Lemmy’s vocals get in the way. They paid to see the loudest, most uncompromising band in all of music, let alone metal, and Motorhead deliver an experience unlike any other band.  Surprisingly, one of the opening bands, Clutch, actually sounded better.

The show kicked off with Lemmy stating like he did the time they were here in 2005, “We are Motorhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll.” This led to the first song, “We Are Motorhead,” the title track of their 2000 album. The sound seemed muddy but I had hoped that it would improve over time. It was only marginally better throughout the show.

After playing the second song, the classic “Stay Clean” from 1979’s Overkill, guitarist Phil Campbell (born May 7, 1961) asked the audience to raise their hands if they wanted the band to play louder. Naturally, the crowd roared their approval and responded instantly. Whether or not the show was louder, I couldn’t tell as I had earplugs in. Seeing the world’s loudest band is both a treat but also a serious risk to your hearing. There’s no doubt many fans were on the verge of deafness for several hours later, but I learned my lesson a long time ago about preserving my hearing.

Lemmy joked about pitching the new album, their 20th,  by pointing out the banner for The Wörld Is Yours below the drum kit before tearing into arguably that album’s most accessible song, “Get Back In Line.” I was quite disappointed that they skipped the album’s first track, the brilliant “Born To Lose.” I had assumed that they would have plugged the new album more, but they didn’t. I was also quite surprised that Lemmy made no mention whatsoever of the new documentary about him, Lemmy, which had a limited theatrical release and is out on DVD and Blu-ray February 22, 2011.

Just like the last time I saw them, the group tried to turn the melodically superb “I’ve Got Mine” into the crowd pleaser that it should be. But once again, it didn’t sound anywhere near as it does on album or in the live video. Lemmy joked that the 1983 song from Another Perfect Day was older than most of the fans in the audience and it seemed to not resonate as well with as some of the older, more straightforward classics.

The 85-minute set wasn’t by any means dominated by its best known material. To do so, the group would have had to play for over two hours easily. I really missed great tracks like “We Are The Road Crew,” “Iron Fist,” “Orgasmatron,” “Love Me Like A Reptile,” and “Deaf Forever,” among others.  I didn’t care for some of the material from the last few albums, but to each his own.

Drummer Mikkey Dee (born Micael Kiriakos Delaoglou, October 31, 1963) has been in the band since 1992 and made his name as a sensational musician with the Dutch metal band King Diamond.  Lemmy had actually asked Dee to join Motorhead as far back as 1985. During this and previous shows, Lemmy described Dee as the “greatest drummer in the world.”  While that honour might go any number of people, like Neil Peart, there’s no doubt that Mikkey Dee fits in superbly with Motorhead.

I respect the fact that Valient Thorr and Clutch were a bit different from most other bands, but I would not likely go see either headline. The guys in Valient Thorr need a shave. Clutch clearly aped Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” on one of its songs. The singer (Neil Fallon) has a strong bluesy sound.

Would I see Motorhead again? Probably, just because if this wasn’t the last time the band will play Winnipeg, next time, if there is a next time, would likely be it, since Motorhead tend to play here once every five years and Lemmy is 65 and not getting any younger.

Setlist:

We Are Motörhead (We Are Motörhead – 2000)
Stay Clean (Overkill – 1979)
Get Back In Line (The Wörld Is Yours – 2011)

Metropolis  (Overkill – 1979)
Over the Top (Bomber – 1979)
One Night Stand (Kiss of Death – 2006)
Rock Out (Motorizer – 2008)
Guitar Solo
The Thousand Names of God (Motorizer – 2008)
I Got Mine (Another Perfect Day – 1983)
I Know How To Die (The Wörld Is Yours – 2011)
The Chase Is Better Than the Catch (The Ace of Spades – 1980)
In the Name of Tragedy (Inferno – 2004)
Drum Solo
Just ‘Cos You Got the Power
Going to Brazil (1916 – 1991)
Killed by Death (No Remorse – 1984)
Ace of Spades (The Ace of Spades – 1980)
Encore:
Overkill – (Overkill – 1979)

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About Triniman

Almost weekly, Triniman catches new movies, and adds one or two CDs to his collection. Due to time constraints, he blogs about only 5% of the CDs, books and DVDs that he purchases. Holed up in the geographic centre of North America, the cultural mecca of Canada, and the sunniest city north of the 49th, Winnipeg, Triniman blogs a bit when he's not swatting mosquitoes, shoveling snow or golfing.
  • http://wp.blogcritics.org/writers/charlie-doherty Charlie Doherty

    Nice review! I’m going to see this show when it comes to Boston on March 1.

    About Clutch. You bet they sounded great! That group (from Maryland) has been around 20 years and has taken up a more classic bluesy hard rock sound of late. But back in their heyday, you would’ve loved to see those guys headline, no question.

    Besides being one of the best American rock bands you’ve probably not heard of, Clutch was more metal, hardcore and singer Neil Fallon was a bit more crazy many years ago (he’s more laidback nowadays and I had the pleasure of phone interviewing him last September, which ruled).

    March 1 can’t come soon enough, as far as I’m concerned.

    Here’s a sample of what Clutch was like live back in 1996.

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    Charlie, have a blast at the show. Maybe I will take a chance and see Clutch if they headline in my city. They certainly are different.

  • RuthlessVengeance

    Valient Thorr were great in Chicago. Here is a link to a video of their set