(The Fillmore, Detroit, MI - September 12th, 2015)
In Rock & Roll, you don't get to be a continual recording and touring success, nay behemoth, by sheer luck! So, having been an original recording artist for 40 years, one that spans a staggering five decades, the fact that Motörhead are still treading the boards, and in support of a brand new album, shouldn't shock anybody.
Motörhead, for those uninitiated, are an English rock band formed in 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser Kilmister, professionally known by his stage name "Lemmy." Indeed, it is Lemmy who has remained the sole constant member of the band, which is something I myself didn't even know before writing this review; even though both Phil "Wizzö" Campbell (guitars) and Mikkey Dee (drums) have collectively been in the band now for 54 years!
Moving on, and the band are often considered a precursor to, or one of the earliest members of, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which re-energized heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite this, or maybe simply because of this, Lemmy has hence forth always dubbed their music as simply "Rock 'N' Roll".
And so here tonight in Detroit, in support of their brand new 22nd studio album, Bad Magic, Motörhead entered into the final few shows on their tour of North America. Having been opened by both Crobot and Anthrax, come the witching hour, the lights go off, the yells (along with clenched fists) go up, and Motörhead take to the stage. With their slogan being 'Everything Louder Than Everything Else', you already know what kind of a night you are in for. But to experience it live, standing by the stage taking photographs, by all those speakers, well, WOW ... it was unbelievably, nay, terrifyingly loud tonight!
Anyway, with the three guys now in place, Lemmy announces the band: "We are Motörhead. We play rock 'n' roll," and with that, the opening chords of 'Damage Case' are struck up and the night has begun. Next comes 'Stay Clean' and before 'Metropolis', Lenny speaks to the crowd again: "It's great to be back in Detroit." Then peering into the crowd he adds, "A Full house, I see." Then guitarist Campbell asks for the house lights to be turned on before both he and Lemmy ask the crowd to scream as loud as they can. Which they do, but it's not loud enough for Motorhead! "That's not fuckin' good enough," Lemmy warns them. So they try again, and then once more, the last one seemingly just what the band wanted to hear. "Much better. Now you sound like you're from Detroit," Lemmy praises.
After 'Over The Top' we get a rather tuneful guitar solo from Campbell, before 'The Chase Is Better Than the Catch' and 'Rock It' are unleashed. "Has anyone bought our new album, Bad Magic?" Lemmy inquires. "It's the last album we'll make for a long, long time, but if you don't like it, you don't like it," he admits, shrugging his shoulders. "This is a song about some Lost Woman Blues," he adds, as the band set off into that very same-named track.
"Thank you very much," Lemmy acknowledges the baying crowd afterwards. "Do you remember when we used to play at Harpos," he further asks them. "Our feet used to stick to the carpet," he gently smiles, before setting the rabid fans up for a rousing, highly-extended version of 'Doctor Rock.' Complete with a massive drum solo, that itself featured eerie yellow lights beaming down upon a drum set that seemed to be smoking, it was easily one of the stand out highlights of the night.
"On the drums, Mickky Dee," Campbell announces, before Lemmy takes over, informing everyone about the true meaning to the next song: "This song is about businessmen and politicians and all those cunts. It's called 'Just 'Cos You Got the Power' that don't mean you got the right to use it." As the song ends, and with Lemmy always watchful of Campbell's guitar bringing a song to a close, he then verbally stumbles slightly. "Thanks. This is gonna be our last song tonight ...", but Campbell quickly intercedes: "No, it's not!" "Oh, that's right," Lemmy corrects himself, "It's not!" We've put in another golden oldie for you!" And with that, Motörhead launch into a cut from their Ace Of Spades album (from 1980!), the western-themed 'Shoot You in the Back.'
"Okay, THIS is really the last song," Lemmy gently smiles, "unless you clap loud enough afterwards and we might come back," he slyly adds. "It's the one song of ours that everyone knows. You can all sing along, but I won't be able to hear you," he personally admits, and with that they bring forth the monster that everyone has indeed been awaiting, 'Ace Of Spades.' The song ("...that's the way I like it baby, I don't wanna live forever") might not have the same depth, the same brutal smash-your-face-in vocal power that it once did, but with Lemmy's distinctive deep growl driving it home, it still resonates a huge sonic memory punch, that's for sure.
Leaving the stage, the crowd baying as hard as they can for the return of the magnificent three, Motörhead stroll back out; as promised. "I can't hear you. I'm deaf!" Lemmy truthfully informs them, as the crowd then turn their vocal love up a notch. "This will be the last song tonight, but before it I'm gonna introduce the band for the first time tonight." After he has put both Campbell and Dee under the spotlight, the former then "introduces" us to Mr. Lemmy Kilmister. "So, even though Detroit's in a state of redecoration," Lemmy continues, "I still love the old Detroit. You are still very good to us," he beams. "Thank you very much for all your support over the years. Don't forget us. We love you. We are Motörhead and we play rock 'n' fuckin' roll," he adds, as the band then bring forth the beloved 'Overkill.'
Complete with flashing lights, both on Campbell's guitar and from revolving spots encompassing the stage, Lemmy aims his guitar at the crowd like a long-necked machine gun. Once finished, the band come stage front to collectively bow, wave, and throw guitar pics and drum sticks into the front few rows. Lemmy leaves his bass propped up against the still-live speaker, the gentle feedback hum the last sounds that the band will make tonight.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk