Motörhead back up to speed with sold-out Club Nokia show

Posted on April 15, 2014

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After canceling show dates when iconic vocalist and bassist Lemmy Kilmister battled health issues last year, Motörhead is picking up speed again with select tour spots in light of his recovery and their 21st studio album “Aftershock” released late 2013.  The band’s fast and loud return to the stage happened at a sold-out Club Nokia on Friday, April 11 in Los Angeles, Calif., two days before playing Coachella.

The dark and intimate Club Nokia, which hosted many past Motörhead gigs, seemed to recharge many new and old Motörhead traditions such as song selection, vicious mosh pits, strippers on stage right and Lemmy’s famous opener (which he actually closed the show with), “We are Motörhead, and we play rock n’ roll.” Their songs’ intense movement penetrated everything that was previously still.

Ironically after Kilmister’s recent health scare, the band opened with “I Know How to Die,” coupled with the mass forced entrance of fans from the back of the venue to the front of the stage that belittled efforts of Club Nokia security. Special guests stood straight and caged up in the balcony as the multigenerational mob of fans swallowed the main floor, erupting in circle pits in every corner.

Motörhead’s setlist included favorites such as “Damage Case,” “Metropolis” and “Killed by Death;” drummer Mikkey Dee performed a mid-length solo relentlessly whipping his hair in sync with the crowd; guitarist Phil Campbell mesmerized the crowd during his solo with his guitar that conducted a green-dragon illumination.

Slash made a special appearance at the closing of the show to perform “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill” with the trio. “Ace of Spades” sounded a bit off in several sections and was slightly slower than usual. The most recognizable Motörhead song with Slash’s extra six-string still drew up cell phones attempting to capture a photo or video.

Motörhead also enlisted two other bands of different genres as support – YouTube sensation, junior high-aged metal band Unlocking the Truth from Brooklyn, N.Y., and 70s-rock time-warped Graveyard, hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden.

Unlocking the Truth won over hearts and respect from web surfers after a short documentary-like video went viral demonstrating their matured musicianship and awareness of their individualism at a young age. Although their songs were a bit sloppy, the band’s stage presence and instrumental personalities were infectious. The young metalheads have already accomplished quite a bit, including a spot at the 2014 Coachella Music Festival.

Graveyard’s ‘70s-inspired psychedelic and bluesy rock differed drastically from the other two bands on the bill, but won over hesitant listeners with their complete package of musicianship. You wanted to watch them because they looked opposite from everyone, you wanted to hear what their sound would be when the roadies unveiled their Orange amplifiers and standard drum set. Graveyard’s electricity struck the crowd instantly with songs such as “Goliath” and “The Siren,” awing ears as vocalist Joakim Nilsson wailed in high registers similar to Robert Plant.

Combining a bill like Friday’s show doesn’t always deliver a successful and cohesive booking, but the outcome was striking and entertaining. A dark, 2,300-person venue like Club Nokia was built and born to host ideal conditions for bands like Motörhead.

Motörhead will also perform at Coachella Music Festival in Indio, Calif. on Sunday, April 13th and Sunday, April 20th.

Mattice is a music journalist for Village Voice’s OC Weekly and Metal Insider. She can be reached at rmattice125@gmail.com or on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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Posted in: Metal Insider