Motörhead

support Jorn
author MGA date 04/12/11 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Bias is inherent when reviewing anything, particularly a live show of an established band. And when it comes to a legacy act, like Motörhead, bias plays an even larger role. Being a huge fan of a band can roughly work two ways: an inability to see beyond the rose-tinted glasses to make a legitimate judgment of a live performance, or an overly critical set of eyes that expect something impossible to achieve. I don't fall into either category in this case, because, to be blunt, I don't really listen to Motörhead. Motörhead has always been a band that I've respected because the musicians I do enjoy owe the trio a great debt, and because they're one of the more relevant acts from their era. But because I'm not intimately familiar with their material, the following review is one devoid of the type of bias explained above, and hopefully the result is something refreshing where preconceived notions don't exist. At least, that's how I rationalize reviewing a band I don't listen to.

Motörhead

I ended up making it to Vega just at the end of Jorn's set, due to a bit of confusion over when the doors opened and when Jorn actually started playing. I'd apologize for the egregious error, but the silver lining is you won't have to read a review of a band who, according to Rockfreaks.net photographer Jill, sucked.

My first thought, while standing in an ocean of middle-aged Motörhead fans, was just how slick the venue is. I had never been to Store Vega before, and after spending the previous evening getting annihilated at hardcore punk show at Ungdomshuset, the appearance at Store Vega was jarring. Extremely clean, huge speakers from floor to ceiling on the sides of the stage, a ridiculous lighting set up, security all over the place, etc. And after Motörhead finally took the stage after what felt like endless tuning by their roadies, it became clear that Motörhead is a band whose music just isn't suitable for a venue that’s just so… corporate.

It would be silly to expect a band of Motörhead's appeal to appear at a place like Ungdomshuset, but really, I'm sure even Lemmy and the gang would agree that once upon a time, that's the grungy setting their music initially took shape, and it's the type of place that's ideal for it to be heard today. Alas, this is a pipe dream, and Motörhead's pull means they can tour Europe in a massive RV while appearing at toothless venues that sell tickets for exorbitant prices.

Exorbitant though the prices were, if you were a Motörhead fan that night at Store Vega, you left any worries about your bank account at the bottom of your pint of Carlsberg. Motörhead truly put on a show that can only be described as proficient and professional. That sounds like a bit of a knock, but considering the fact that this is a band that is deep into their middle-aged years, has played thousands of shows, and plays a strenuous genre of music, I think a lot of credit is deserved by Motörhead.

Sure, nothing about the show made it stand out from what I imagine any other Motörhead show sounds like, but this works both ways: their live performance was acceptably standard and didn't deviate from what really is a winning formula. Lemmy wore the outfit you'd expect him to wear – no, want him to wear – and they played a set comprised of the songs you'd expect.

That's one of the few benefits of being a legacy act: some of the expectations are easy to meet. Just play the right songs, play them relatively well, look the part, embrace your gimmick, and you're set. Motörhead understands this, and they sent the crowd of mostly middle-aged people (some with their kids) home with satisfaction. All that really mattered is that they could tell their friends that they saw Motörhead. It didn't matter how good or innovative Motörhead’s performance was, as long as Motörhead was, well, Motörhead. And they were, and that is to the band's credit.

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