Concert Review: Motorhead/Clutch/Valient Thorr – Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, MB 2/12/11
Fans began lining up about 40 minutes before the doors opened, with some hoping to snag a ticket to what was rumored to be a sold out show. It was quite warm during the day, with the snow melting, but the evening chilled us to the bones and few of us seemed dressed for the cold.
I managed to buy a pre-sale ticket several weeks ago and I was happy to see one of the ticket-less fans make it. He appeared to be in his late 50s or early 60s, which might seem odd at first but not when you consider that Motorhead formed in 1975, by a then 30-year-old Lemmy (born Ian Fraser Kilmister, December 24, 1945) and they have many older fans, although the crowd was dominated with fans in their teens to 30s.
I saw them in 2000 and 2005 at the same venue, but they sounded worse this time around. Seeing the legendary Motorhead at this stage of its career, the tail end, is such a treat that the audience doesn’t let the lack of excellent sound quality or Lemmy’s vocals get in the way. They paid to see the loudest, most uncompromising band in all of music, let alone metal, and Motorhead deliver an experience unlike any other band.
Surprisingly, one of the opening bands, Clutch, actually sounded better. The show kicked off with Lemmy stating like he did the time they were here in 2005, “We are Motorhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll.” This led to the first song, “We Are Motorhead,” the title track of their 2000 album. The sound seemed muddy but I had hoped that it would improve over time. It was only marginally better throughout the show. After playing the second song, the classic “Stay Clean” from 1979’s Overkill, guitarist Phil Campbell (born May 7, 1961) asked the audience to raise their hands if they wanted the band to play louder. Naturally, the crowd roared their approval and responded instantly. Whether or not the show was louder, I couldn’t tell as I had earplugs in.
Seeing the world’s loudest band is both a treat but also a serious risk to your hearing. There’s no doubt many fans were on the verge of deafness for several hours later, but I learned my lesson a long time ago about preserving my hearing.
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