The Rave, Milwaukee, WI
March 20, 2005
Back in the fall of 1981, during my senior in high school, my friend, B.G., and I purchased an album by a band we knew very little about from some fly-by-night mail order record company. A few weeks passed and the album finally arrived in the mail. It was called “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmit’” by MOTORHEAD. We played the record on B.G.’s turntable and with one spin three guys named Lemmy, Fast Eddie, and Philthy Phil proceeded to kick our asses that afternoon.
B.G. and I must have been the only two people in the state of Wisconsin who were into MOTORHEAD back then. B.G. would impersonate Lemmy Kilmister’s gravely voice and yell, “We are the road crew!” whenever he got the opportunity. All I could do was smirk and think of the band that exposed us to a new form of metal while bringing us closer together as friends.
We even had a chance to go see MOTORHEAD live in Minneapolis on the Iron Fist tour that same winter, but our school had a Winter Carnival dance the same night and we had to miss the show. I still regret having to do that to this day. I almost had B.G. talked into going with me, but what would the Winter Carnival have been like for the students if I had kidnapped the person crowned as “Snow King” and took him to see a MOTORHEAD gig instead?
Now, on to the show . . .
The set was classic, in your face, take no prisoners, MOTORHEAD. “Dr. Rock” was the opener followed by “Stay Clean” and “Shoot You in the Back.” Lemmy only paused once to greet an enthusiastic Milwaukee crowd early in the show before launching into live staples such as “Love Me like a Reptile”, “Metropolis”, and “No Class”.
After doing a European tour last summer and fall to promote their newest release “Inferno,” MOTORHEAD is only two weeks into the US leg of their XXX tour representing their 30th anniversary as a band. Since only three “Inferno” songs (“Killers,” “In The Name Of Tragedy,” “Whorehouse Blues”) were included, the band was able to play a 90-minute set that justly covered their 30 years as the godfathers of speed metal.
Overall, the band sounded good and tight all night. Phil Campbell’s guitar playing impressed those in the crowd and I personally felt a stronger respect for him as a guitarist by the end of the show. On the other hand, Mikkey Dee seemed to be having problems with his amps throughout the night, at one point stood up, and kicked the stack sitting just behind him off the drum riser. Mikkey didn’t seem to let the equipment malfunction bother him at all and was the driving force behind Lemmy and Phil the entire evening. Several people in the crowd were commenting on just how hard Mikkey pounds his kit.
Since MOTORHEAD always lets the music do the talking for them, the few words the band members do speak are always memorable. Lemmy dedicated the song “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” to that legendary band and the crowd responded by moshing for the entire song. Before their final sprint to the end of the set, Lemmy introduced Phil and Mikkey to the crowd, but Phil received the largest pop of the night when he then introduced Lemmy as “The man who put the ‘sin’ in Wisconsin.” MOTORHEAD closed out the set with “Going to Brazil,” “Killed by Death,” and “Iron Fist.”
The encore indeed supplied a true surprise . . . MOTORHEAD: Unplugged. You read it right. MOTORHEAD: Unplugged; Mikkey and Phil sitting on stools and playing acoustic guitars while Lemmy soulfully crooned “Whorehouse Blues.” Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The encore ended with electric versions of the traditional closers “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill.”
(This review is dedicated to B.G., wherever you are now . . . “We are the road crew!”)
Jeff Mastin and Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead)
- Lemmy Kilmister – Vocals/Bass
- Phil Campbell – Guitar
- Mikkey Dee – Drums
- Dr. Rock
- Stay Clean
- Shoot You In The Back
- Love Me Like A Reptile
- Over The Top
- No Class
- I Got Mine
- In The Name Of Tragedy
- Dancing On Your Grave
- Going To Brazil
- Killed By Death
- Iron Fist
- Whorehouse Blues (Acoustic)
- Ace Of Spades
Official Motorhead website: http://www.imotorhead.com/