Motorhead @ Roseland Ballroom (9/20/2008)

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Artist: Motorhead
Venue: Roseland Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Valient Thorr, Year Long Disaster, ASG
Date: 9/20/2008
Label: SPV Records

It seemed like just the other day that I found myself watching Motorhead deliver a crushing set of Heavy Rock & Roll during the “Masters Of Metal” tour. I’m sure if you are a Metal head of the most discerning type that you remember or even attended that tour which found Motorhead on the same stage with Testament, Heaven and Hell and the mighty Judas Priest. If you missed that one, well I can honestly just say that you missed one hell of an event and that’s a shame since a lineup like that one does not get put together all that often. So here we were a little over a month and a half later as one of the loudest Rock and Roll bands alive was doing a short headlining tour. The tour was originally supposed to feature both Airborne and The Misfits but something changed a few weeks before that took Airborne off the list and it was shortly after that when we learned that The Misfits would also no longer be participating. This depressed me a bit as I have enjoyed what I heard from Airborne, but The Misfits would be performing at B.B. King’s on Halloween so I could easily catch them on a night that would be more appropriate. By the time I attended the show the lineup was set as ASG, Year Long Disaster and Valient Thorr as the opening acts for Motorhead and while the main attraction is an SPV Records artist, all of the other groups come care of Volcom Entertainment.

ASG: ASG would be up first and have a very similar drive to that of Motorhead which made me glad that they kicked off the show. I swore that I’ve heard these guys a few times before and if not its probably because they had a very traditional based driving kind of Heavy Rock meets Southern and Stoner Rock. I liked their quick set very much and found singer guitarist Jason Shi to be setting up the pins for the following bands to knock down with relative ease. The whole band seemed to be happy to be a part of this tour and while there could have been more people in the place when they started playing the band didn’t let that bother them at all and still delivered the musical goods that they were in possession of. They were supporting their own recent release, “Win Us Over”, which is apparently the bands fourth album. After their short set I found the singer to be a very friendly guy who was interested in meeting those that enjoyed their music at the merchandise booth. No prima donnas here it seems. Year Long Disaster would be up next.

Year Long Disaster: These guys were totally new to me and I realized why after I came home from the show. They might have been around since around 2003 but they had only released their self titled debut release on Volcom Entertainment back in 2007. This was pure and solid “Old School” Rock ‘n Roll with a crunching backbeat to it for lack of a better description. Good stuff but not super duper heavy when compared to the likes of a band like Motorhead. As they played I felt that I knew the singing guitarist from somewhere and in the end needed a little research to only discover that Mr. Daniel Davies was in fact the son of the musician Dave Davies who was a founding member of a little group known as The Kinks. He is certainly an energetic player on the stage and gets into the music as much as possible as he tries to win the audience over to their own musical side. It’s very accessible stuff to be honest and if you are enjoying those straight-ahead Rock bands that are slowly returning then you should enjoy what YLD is up to. Now it was time for Valient Thorr and I had only heard that they were on the interesting side before this performance.

Valient Thorr: “Total Universe Man” was my only exposure to the band before tonight and I had to admit that I didn’t “get it”, but that was half based on my not really understanding what they or particularly their lead singer were all about. The band set up this whole convoluted mythical history about them and it’s rather interesting to read about them while in the musical sense they totally come off as something off the wall. Their musical style is Heavy traditional Rock but has a lot of Psychedelic and Stoner blended in as well and yet while they do this kind of musical stuff the singer known as “Valient Himself” is a madman on the stage and he jabbers almost incoherently and runs in every direction possible during the songs. As you watch them you find it difficult to both take your eyes off him and also to focus on what he might potentially do. He was everywhere on the stage tonight and even found the ability to climb up above the crowd on some speakers. It’s really something I used to think was cool and now find rather terrifying for everyone around them should they come a tumbling down. They have been supporting that release I spoke of for a couple of years now along with two albums that totally bypassed me called “Legend Of The World” and “Immortalizer” and after their 45 minute set I could say that I would like to see what they do in a headlining set. I like when a band keeps it interesting on the stage as opposed to being boring because that is something that gives the fans their money’s worth. I admit that I was surprised to find such a detailed back story to the band because it’s not something one often sees for bands that are not focused on dressing up in costumes. Now it was time for the mighty Motorhead to come out and make our ears bleed like only they know how and at this time the place was at its capacity.

Motorhead: Before Motorhead came out the lights went down and the sound of their song “The Game” came blaring over the speakers as the one and only Triple H came out to introduce the band. He is a WWE wrestler of note if you have no idea about the main players in the sport. He talked of legends and icons of music against those who are actually gods in the business or something like that, and in the end exclaimed loudly that Motorhead were the Gods of Heavy Metal and the thunderous response found the wrestler flexing as audience cameras flashed wildly. Suddenly the band was on the stage and tearing into their material with the opener “Dr. Rock”. It was louder than any of the bands that preceded them, and I expected this, but what I didn’t expect was how hard it actually hits you when you are close up to the proceedings on the stage. Wow, it was like a hurricane of Metal notes and this was going to keep going for another hour and a half. Lemmy is pretty stationary during the set because he obviously has to sing everything and he sounded his usual gruff but excellent self. The bassist would tip the hat to Triple H and his wife, and I am guessing that Stephanie McMahon (daughter of Vince) was also present and that was rather nice of him to do that. I guess under the rough exterior that Lemmy still has some proper English gentleman in him. Who knew? Having seen and enjoyed the band during the “Masters of Metal” tour I was happy to find a lengthier set being delivered this evening. Of course they only played about sixty minutes during that tour but they were the second band up and tonight as the main attraction would extend this to an hour and a half.

The band didn’t focus on their new CD “Motorizer” as much as some bands tend to do when they have a new release and I think that this is because Lemmy realizes just how important his back catalog material is to his fans. He might very well be tired of playing “Killed By Death” or “Iron Fist” but he sure doesn’t act like it. I like that about the band but on the other side of the coin it makes seeing the band a few times in sequence a little bit of the same thing. I had no real problems with the set list and enjoyed how good new tracks like “Rock Out” sounded against some of the classics and the more I hear it, the more I love “Going To Brazil” because it’s such an old school rocker. They didn’t play “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” this evening which I felt was a mistake because of the band’s NYC affiliation. Having seen Motorhead do this one to massive response from the crowd in the past made me feel that they should have done it. We get the killer drum solo from Mikkey Dee during “Tragedy” and he is really one of the most powerful players on the planet and he is such a perfect member of the band. My hope is that we don’t find the band switching around the lineup anytime soon because with Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey it really has been as solid as the proverbial rock for a great amount of years and albums. A little bit of a breather would come by the time the band slowed down to deliver the acoustic “Whorehouse Blues” and I noticed that those fans who were on the fringes of the crowd used that time to load up them and their friends with more beers. The crowd tonight was something animalistic and the floor was a very dangerous place to be for the unprepared Metal fan. I’ve experienced crazy mosh pits at some of the more extreme Metal artist’s gigs and this one was definitely finding me marking it down as one for the books.

The band closed up with two of the standards in “Ace Of Spades” and “Overkill” and the strobe lights during the final number leaves everyone dizzy (especially after the lengthy evening of consuming beers). An interesting note was that a few of the fans in my immediate view had brought their children along with them and while I thought it was cool to see the youngest generation being given the chance to be exposed to the likes of such a legendary band, I had to say that I hope those kids were given ear plugs because a Motorhead show can really cause some harm to little ones ear drums, and they sure have a lot more Metal to experience in their lives that we don’t want ruined. I had a great time and while I expected to find this to be the case I didn’t expect to find myself possessing the necessary energy to absorb the night. This had been a killer musical week for me because over the course of the five days that preceded this show I had already been to a number of events around the city. Clearly September was a memorable month for shows because we already had visits from Trouble, Opeth, Sigh and Unexpect among some others and there were going to be a number of German and Finnish powerhouses coming in over the next two weeks that would clearly keep all Metal fans busy. As a matter of fact, tomorrow was Helloween with Gamma Ray at B.B. King Blues Club. Let the adventures continue.

Valient Thorr Setlist:
1. Heatseeker
2. Infinite Lives
3. Exit Strategy
4. Palm Reader
5. Man Behind the Curtain
6. Birdhead Looking @ Goldenhands
7. Parable of Daedalus
8. Goveruptcy
9. Mask of Sanity
10. Tough Customer

Motorhead Setlist:
1. Dr. Rock
2. Stay Clean
3. Be My Baby
4. Rock Out
5. Metropolis
6. Over The Top
7. Rosalee (Thin Lizzy)
8. One Night Stand
9. Thousand Names
10. In The Name Of Tragedy – drum solo
11. Just Cos U Got The Power
12. Going To Brazil
13. Killed By Death
14. Iron Fist
15. Whorehouse Blues
16. Ace Of Spades
17. Overkill – encore

The band was introduced by World Wrestling Entertainment’s own Triple H, and this really got things started in style.  Here are a few photos of the wrestler as he called us all to arms and then flexed a little.

Triple H announces Motorhead

It was easy to realize that he clearly means business.  Best pay attention legions and do what he instructs.

Triple H says "Let's Hear It"

Of the five or six photos we snapped of him during this time these are the coolest ones.

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