Motörhead | 09.08.15

live motorheadEven after the first few songs, in hushed tones, the question echoed through the crowd: How long will Lemmy make it tonight?

w/Saxon & Crobot
The Pageant, St. Louis

In the last gasps of summer, two aging metal bands and one up-and-coming groove metal band landed upon The Pageant on the Delmar Loop.

Central Pennsylvanians Crobot, opened the show with a blistering set of whatever it is they play. Their frontman leaps, prowls, and sings like a perfect mesh of 1970 Jim Morrison and 1977 Paul Stanley, always engaged in some sort of repartee with the band’s Americana guitar player, who’s got a wide streak of psychedelia in his playing. The short, funk bass player is always lost in the music, but he binds the whole band to the V8 engine: those drums.

In short, I don’t think Crobot has any idea of their identity as a band. They sing about whatever gobbledygook they think of, telling stories of Lucifer, outer space serial killers, and necromancers, but they do it with such style, such conviction, that it becomes something new: pure rock ’n’ roll. They’re the kind of band that grooves so hard, your neck will hurt worse than your eardrums, even if you stand directly in front of the stage.

Up next, Saxon took the stage. They are one of the stalwarts of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and, in over 30 years, they haven’t lost a step. Only the gray hairs betray their age. So many singers lose it as time goes on, but Saxon has not. The shrieks and cries are as powerful today as they were in 1983. The guitars play a power-slop style that goes from muddy to precise on the kick of the double bass. Speaking of the double bass, it would be hard to walk away from that unimpressed. The music, the vocals, the drums: It all adds up to pure metal. Many fads have come and gone during the lifetime of Saxon, but the band never updated its sound or style. They are the same five guys they have always been, pure metal.

After Saxon played an extended set, Motörhead took the stage, launching into “Damage Case,” and set off the aging crowd into full-on frenzy. Even after the first few songs, in hushed tones, the question echoed: How long will Lemmy make it tonight? He did sound a little out of breath. Perhaps the lung infection story was true after all, but he finished the show. He was lacking in some power and swagger, but when I think about my grandfather from my youth, he was ancient at 70—still farming, of course, but he was not playing metal to packed houses.

What may end up being the final time we see Motörhead in St. Louis wasn’t the best show Lemmy has ever done, but it’s the one I’m going to remember the most fondly. As he battled his own body, Mikky Dee and Phil Campbell propped up Lemmy and played with authority. To this day, I can’t imagine a Motörhead without either of them. | Nik Cameron

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