“Are you all right? Well, we’ll fix that.” That’s how Lemmy Kilmister greeted to the sold-out crowd for Motörhead’s last night at First Avenue, and it wasn’t just cocky rock talk. Even with earplugs firmly in place, I left last night’s 85-minute show with my ears ringing. Plenty of fans went home with worse damage, too, be it alcohol-induced – the total booze sales during Motörhead must equal five or six nights of wimpier indie-rock shows – or severe cases of headbanging whiplash.
The noise really was brutal, though. First Ave booker Sonia Grover noted in a tweet that it was the only time she’d seen a soundman wearing earplugs. Despite all the danger, the concert turned into a something of a cozy love affair, as the crowd seemed even more worshipful than usual of the band’s iconic frontman (wearing a cool, leather, cowboy-come-biker hat and fresh from seeing his documentary “Lemmy” hit the VH1 airwaves). Lemmy, too, seemed a little extra appreciative of the fans’ responsiveness, except for when some idiot threw a drink on stage near the start of the set. “In Motorhead, we don’t throw glasses of beer on stage because we finish them all before we get on stage,” Lemmy said, before making some indecipherable but clearly threatening comment at the guy.
Lemmy was likely please the crowd remained so into the show even as the band pulled out an arsenal of less-obvious songs. That included “Get Back in Line” and the cheery “I Know How to Die,” a couple of heavy-hitters from the band’s latest album, “The World Is Yours,” plus other recent pounders such as “Rock Out” and “One Night Stand.” Let’s face it, a new Motorhead song pretty much follows the same sonic blueprint as an old Motorhead song, so no wonder fans remained content. The one variation – and a welcome one at that – was the stormy “Just ‘Cos You Got the Power,” which Lemmy wryly described as “our one slow song.” Not long after that came “Killed by Death,” “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill,” and suffice to say any pain went away.
We Are Motörhead / Stay Clean / Get Back In Line / Metropolis / Over the Top / One Night Stand / Rock Out / The Thousand Names of God / I Got Mine / I Know How To Die / The Chase Is Better Than the Catch / In the Name of Tragedy / Just 'Cos You Got the Power / Going to Brazil / Killed by Death / Ace of Spades ENCORE: Overkill