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I Know How To Die: Motörhead, Graveyard @ Club Nokia, 4/11/14

April 13, 2014

Ugh, that dreaded sound…

IMG_81458 years into this, and I made a rookie mistake of showing up to the gig for a “hometown” show for one of the bands and having to wait in a monstrous guest list line, the kind of line where people are trying to charm the ticket counter attendees with stories of how so-and-so put them on the list and can you double check that please because I really don’t know why I’m not on there?  I’m tapping my foot as I hear the inevitable notes of Graveyard’s “Ain’t Fit to Live Here” seeping out the door.  Just. Get. Me. Inside.

This would be almost exactly one year after Motörhead last played this venue; it’s such an odd choice in my opinion.  The newness of the venue, the neon lights, the locale within the antiseptic LA Live… it’s a complete and utter mismatch for the band, the music, and especially, the people going to see the music.  It reminds me of Barge to Hell; as we filed through the metal detectors I remembered what it felt like to be on a chipper cruise ship with the black-swathed masses.  Now you know what Motörboat will be like…

For some reason, we were forced to go to the 5th floor upon entry, where a sign greeted us saying ‘5th floor- the best seat in the house’ which immediately read to me like, ‘you got here late, asshole, and since we are a super-strict venue that counts capacity on the floor… congratulation, you get to sit in the rafters!’  I was panting by the time we found our way to gaze down upon Graveyard, and luckily it wasn’t that bad of a viewpoint.  Graveyard‘s Scandinavian-bred blues rock took the pain away immediately.  Yes, I kinda feel like we live in a world where the best hard rock music of today is imported from unlikely places.  It had been a couple years since I’d seen Graveyard; it’s always nice to see a band you believe in make the transition to The Big Stage.  While I really wanted to hear “Blue Soul”, because I love those lyrics, the last two-thirds of the setlist I did get to see consisted of a nice mix of Hisingen Blues and Lights Out material.  I watched the packed pit reacting to the band; the hardcore Motörheadbangers looked like they were enjoying this mellower set; perhaps some a little too much as I saw a roadie jump off the stage and give one fan a good talking to.  As they finished up with “The Siren”, which included a snare drum being replaced mid song, Graveyard soothed the pain of an awkward start to the night, by commiserating with me with their tunes.  “I still have the demon back inside my head… He must be some siren… He is in my dream…”

Between sets, you didn’t have to even be in the VIP lounge to rub shoulders with the likes of Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden.  After catching up with a friend who flew all the way from Canada for the show, we bought a Motörhead t-shirt that made me laugh because the words on it are glittery!

IMG_8161We were able to go on the main floor for Motörhead, but sight lines are so weird in this venue that we spent a lot of time moving around and going back up to the 5th floor and back down again before finally settling on a spot.  Side note: “The Chase is Better Than the Catch” is good elevator music.  As soon as the set began, I spent a little time evaluating how Lemmy sounded in comparison to previous shows.  The story of Lemmy’s health, or lack thereof, has been frequent press since last summer.  So, yeah, Lemmy sounded a bit rougher and slower than the last time I saw him; coupled with some sound issues out the gate, and I was a bit worried.  But, the band persevered and it ended up being, as expected, a solid show.  Motörhead unites all the various sub genres of the rock & metal world, so that the crowd looked schizophrenic in appearance but were united under exactly two things: the music and that they were all totally fucking wasted.  Except for me.  I’d like to see stats on how many bottles of Jack are consumed at this show compared to others at Club Nokia.  Cue people stumbling out of the pit red-faced, bruised, and dazed to the sound of “Killed By Death”.  Like last year, Lemmy’s son Paul joined the band for a track, but what everyone left talking about was Slash joining the band for the encore of “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”.  That was pretty cool.  Only in LA (and at Coachella)…

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