It is an undeniable fact that over 90% of heavy metal is just plain awful. FACT. If you consider most genres you could probably say the same thing but there’s something special about heavy metal. In general, heavy metal is simply music for serial killers and sexually frustrated teenage boys; it’s big, it’s dumb but it sure isn’t clever. I refuse to believe that fifteen minute plus epics about the Loch Ness Monster are ever necessary and furthermore anyone who has the time to sit and listen to anything like that should probably remove themselves from their PC and discover a world outside of World of Warcraft marathons. However floating in this sea of drum solos, retarded sexuality and general knuckle-dragging is one band that immediately stands out as actually interesting and that is Motorhead. Yes, they do have songs called ‘Killed by Death’ and tonight things will go proper Spinal Tap when the song ‘In the Name of Tragedy’ is dedicated to “William Fucking Shakespeare” but there’s just something about the bad that make them about a million times more enjoyable than most other metal bands.

If you want further proof, you should just look at the bands support act Saxon, a band that looks like a collection of unemployable weird uncles clinging onto their precarious claim of being famous in the 80s. In contrast Motorhead are a band who really looks the part. Lemmy may be approximately 600 years old, but this doesn’t stop him from looking implausibly cool. Here tonight he is dressed in his regulation black looking like some sort of SS troll with a voice so gravelly you would be forgiven for believing his larynx is some sort of slag heap. Every time he laughs (as he frequently does) it’s a sound so filthy that it would probably make the devil feel uncomfortable.

However these mostly superficial differences don’t reveal the true hidden genius behind Motorhead: the fact that the band are adapt at writing great pop songs. Strip away the often excessively noodly guitar work and what you’re left with are great pop songs filled with hooks that get stuck in your head for days. Essentially they write great big pop songs on steroids. What this means is that, with the notable exception of one extremely wanky drum solo, each song zips along in about 3 minutes leaving little room for the frankly boring endless improvisation many metal bands go in for. Often the sheer pace of the gig is staggering: in the entire set I think the tempo dropped below 120 beats per minute just once. There are no ballads or moments of quiet reflection, there is however the suprising appearance of acoustic guitars, though normal service is resumed when they turn out to be for a charming little acoustic blues number called ‘Whorehouse Blues’. Without a doubt though the highlight of the night is a thrashy run through of their signature tune ‘Ace Of Spades’, live and being bellowed by a hall full of scary looking metal fans it sounds like the greatest song ever.

All in all I could never claim that this gig was life changing or that it made me rethink music as I know it. But what I can say is it was a hell of a lot of fun, if not a totally bizarre experience. I found myself thanking God over and over again that I hadn’t found myself in the standing area as I watched what appeared to be some sort of bizarre homoerotic display unfolding in the mosh pit (why would anyone want to take their shirt off on a cold November night to throw themselves around a room with other shirtless men? But this is beside the point…). Ultimately, the band was undeniably tight and punchy, their songs sounding gloriously juvenile for a trio whose combined age must be shockingly close to 200. It’s the sort of concert you could only really understand if you were there. It was in places flawed, the drum solo in particular (they are like smoking crack, there’s never an excuse) but overall it was mostly a night of uncomplicated fun.


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