Motörhead | 2.20.11

Motörhead, Clutch and Valient Thorr wowed a sold out crowd at Pop’s last Sunday night.

Sold out shows at Pop’s are something else. While most venues leave a little leg room, even for sold out events, Pop’s packs the house as tight as they can. And sold out Motörhead shows? Forget about it. It’s like a crowd of redwood trees or Paul Bunyans, so not only is it crowded, it’s almost impossible to see the stage. Those obstacles are minor, however, and Sunday night’s show was worth every second. 

First up was Valient Thorr, a rad rock’n’roll band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This was my first experience seeing them live and they blew me away! Energetic frontman Valient Himself kicked the show off with a might cry: “St. Louis and surrounding areas – let’s fucking party!” And party they did. Their 30 minute, bundle-of-energy set was totally killer from start to finish. The bar had been set high.

It would have been a hard act to follow for almost any band. But Clutch isn’t just any band; for me, they’re nothing short of gods when it comes to playing live. For those of you familiar with their body of work, you would have been as excited as I was to hear “The Elephant Riders” (The Elephant Riders), “Profits of Doom” (Blast Tyrant), “The Mob Goes Wild” (Blast Tyrant), “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” (Strange Cousins from the West) and “Texan Book of the Dead” (Clutch) back to back. Since I’ve already mentioned one great frontman, I might as well point out that Neil Fallon is probably one of the most charismatic singers in rock. I think it’s his facial expressions that does it for me… Next time they’re in town, do yourself a favor and grab a seat up close.

After playing for almost an hour, Clutch left the stage and made way for the rock’n’roll legends, Motörhead. One of the refreshing aspects of the show was the quick turn around between bands. I think we only waited 20 or 25 minutes from the time one performance ended and the next began. At 9.15, the stage lights dimmed and Motörhead took the stage. The crowd was ready – the second bassist and lead vocalist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister opened his mouth, the place went nuts. The band was excited to be back, deciding it had been about 10 years since they’d last played Pop’s (to be exact, it was April 16, 2002. I was there!) After the opening numbers, guitarist Phil Campbell and Lemmy asked the crowd to “make more noise than you have ever made before.” The sold out venue only had to give it one go — impressed with the result, the band applauded our cheers and launched into the popular b-side, “Over the Top.” The band was just as one would expect: dressed in all black, Lemmy sporting his signature black cowboy hat. Their movements on stage were minimal but the sound was immense. From where I was, the crowd seemed fairly well behaved, probably partially thanks to Clutch’s Fallon requesting that everyone “take it easy so that all can have a good time” because of all the families in attendance. There were people from all walks of life there to see Motörhead strut their stuff: young and old, metal heads, punk kids, men, women, small, large (as I’d mentioned above). The set was filled with a mix of old favorites and songs off of the new album, The Wörld is Yours. By the way, you’ll have to forgive me for not being totally familiar with all of the band’s material but I’m sure you could find that info somewhere online. Towards the end of the show, huge clouds of smoke covered the stage, allowing Lemmy and Campbell to exit and steering all focus towards Mikkey Dee and one hell of a drum solo. After the other two joined Dee back onstage (amidst more clouds of smoke), they finished their hour and fifteen minute long show with their arguably biggest hit, “Ace of Spades.” Even the most fair-weather fan would have to admit that it was the perfect ending to a totally solid rock’n’roll show. After a few minutes off-stage, the band came back on for a short encore. By this point, I was towards the back door, trying not to smell anymore sweaty armpits so I couldn’t hear or see much but I do know that the last couple of songs sent the crowds into one final frenzy.

In the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from any one of the bands and would happily do it all over again. Except maybe I’d wear taller shoes next time.
 | Nicole Madden

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