Motörhead, Graveyard, Club Nokia, April 11, 2014
“I’m back from the dead! Anyway, let’s get started before I drop dead!” the venerable Lemmy Kilmister exclaimed at the start of Motörhead’s lively performance at the Club Nokia in Downtown L.A. It was a Friday night, and the place was packed to the rafters by an interesting cross section of music fans. There were the metal heads, the punk rockers, and the Coachella hipsters, all waiting for the legendary three piece collective from England to tear down the house with their down and dirty music. And Motörhead did so with an all-out vengeance, clearly demonstrating to all why they remain one of the greatest rock and roll bands on the planet.
Opening for Motörhead was an dynamic entity of musicians known as Graveyard – and the only thing these two bands really seemed to have in common was they were both playing Coachella for the next two weekends. Nevertheless, many in the crowd appeared to be familiar with Graveyard, and showered a good deal of respect and admiration throughout their entire show. From the opening strains of Randy through Ain’t Fit To Live Here and beyond, Graveyard presented a performance that was absolutely captivating. Hailing from the music mecca known as Gothenburg on Sweden, Graveyard channeled bands such as Deep Purple and The Sword, creating an energy that sent the room spinning. Delivering tracks culled from their Nuclear Blast release Lights Out as well as other crowd favorites, the mastery and imagination found within Graveyard’s music reached out to many in the overflow Club Nokia room. Glorious remnants of heavy rock, blues and psychedelia weaved its magic throughout, courtesy of Joakim Nilsson on guitar and vocals, Jonathan Ramm on guitar, Rikard Edlund on bass, Axel Sjöberg on drums. Many were understandable\y excited to see the main act hit the stage, but there is little doubt that Graveyard made a good deal of new fans at the Club Nokia with their absorbing live presentation.
And then it was time for the almighty Motörhead – with Lemmy and company opening the set with the ironically titled I Know How To Die from their The World Is Yours magnum opus. Circle pits ensued through the entire venue, as well as fans jumping up and down frenetically, all enraptured by the massive sounds of Motörhead. Damage Case and Stay Clean continued the raging assault to the senses, showing a rejuvenated Motörhead at the very height of their musical prowess. Although Aftershock is their latest release on UDR – a true masterpiece possessing many future Motörhead classics, it was interesting that the only track they played from it was the magnificently smoky Lost Woman Blues. The Chase Is Better Than The Catch and Rock It maintained our trip into the sweeping Motörhead catalog of classics, with the audience singing along with fiendish glee. Killed By Death was a definitive highlight- the track Motörhead would close with right before a well-deserved encore. And speaking of an encore for the ages, Motörhead was joined onstage by none other than Slash of Guns N Roses fame – unleashing rousing renditions of Ace Of Spades and Overkill.
Although Lemmy has been dealing with health issues, the legendary front man was in tip-top form, exuding his classic stage presence and acerbic wit throughout the entire show – not to mention his trademark vocals and pulsating bass work that has rendered him a rock and roll icon for the ages. At 68, Lemmy still tears up the stage like no other rocker on this earth. Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums unleashed magnificent performances, and manifested some thunderous solos throughout the set. Motörhead has been in your face with their sonic reveries since 1975, and judging by what was on display at the Club Nokia, there shall be no stopping this truly great collective. As the affable Lemmy stated at the conclusion of their set, “Don’t forget us. We are Motörhead and we play and roll!” And may they do so for the many years ahead!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)