Saturday, May 18, 2013

Another Perfect Day

Motörhead / Anvil
Club Nokia, Los Angeles, California
May 14, 2013

One thing led to another and Umlaut found himself back in Los Angeles for work and coincidentally Motörhead were playing while I was there.  Imagine that?   After a typically busy, but ultimately rewarding work day, I pointed the rental car in the direction of Club Nokia.  I had mentally prepared myself for the expected L.A. traffic clusterfuck ... and I was expecting the worst because the S.J. Sharks and L.A. Kings playoff game was across the mall from the venue at the same time.  However, to my surprise, the cluster never happened and the drive was almost enjoyable.  After parking I met up with road tripping Photo Ray and we caught up over libations and appetizers at a nearby establishment.  Then we wandered over to Will Call to see what awaited us.  If only all shows were this easy:

I'll say right now that Club Nokia ranks as possibly my least favorite venue.  It's in a mall.  It's designed more like a dance club than a proper music venue.  The sight lines are terrible.  They have silly rules.  The VIP area is like an episode of Entourage populated by Revolver Magazine Affliction posers.  I lost count of how many times I muttered "Fucking L.A..." to myself as I wandered around.  All of this and Dave Grohl held court in a corner surrounded by people in skinny jeans.

Backstage spelling fail.  For "safety" stay in school, kids.

Anyway, this was a one-off show for Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey as a warm up for some important shows in Mexico later in the week.  Also, as it stands now, it was also Motörhead's only headline show in North America this year.  The bill was given some extra vintage spice by having Anvil as direct support instead of some lame band.  Thank you, Goldenvoice.

It's been 3 years since the firestorm of adoration for Anvil spiked because of the documentary.  Fast forward to 2013 and the Canadians are back to what they've always been doing: Slogging it out in the trenches.

Photo courtesy of Photo Ray

Lips, Robb, and the new guy on bass steamrolled through a workmanlike 45 minutes that kicked off with 'March Of The Crabs' into '666'.  Nice.  Many people have turned on Anvil and shake their fists and figuratively yell at them to "give it up" in the wake of the movie.  Why would they do that??  The whole spirit of the movie was Lips and Robb doing what they love despite everything.  Anvil quitting would be a profound sell out.  They're the patron saints of all the anonymous bands who still ride in shitty bands to shitty shows for shitty money.  Dog bless Anvil.  That being said, I had a very slight beer buzz going as the set closed with 'Metal On Metal'.

Motörhead in L.A. is basically a hometown show so stage left and right were packed solid with guests.  It's always a blessing to stand next to Lemmy's backline... but after the opening couple of songs I got annoyed by all of the "guests" around me... so I spent the rest of the set making use of the plastic hanging around my neck and watched from different spots around the venue.

Here in the 21st Century, Motörhead could easily be taken for granted because they've always been around.  Given the recent passing of Jeff Hanneman we should NOT take our heroes for granted.  Appreciate them NOW.  Motörhead changed my life as a teenager and Lemmy, Fast Eddie, and Philthy Phil were my ultimate Metal heroes... and while I'm basically a jaded old fart now my Inner Teenage Metalhead still freaks out a little whenever I watch Lemmy go into his bass solo during 'Stay Clean'.

Tonight was a typically workmanlike 75 minute set. I can always nitpick about a Motörhead setlist but I was surprised by the vintage 'Rock It' making an appearance.  'Killed By Death', with Lemmy's son Paul on guest guitar, is always life affirming... and the show ending aural fistfight of 'Overkill' will always remind me how far I've come from my suburban teenage bedroom listening to No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith constantly.

Photo courtesy of Photo Ray

The after show backstage scene tonight was ridiculous with WAY too many people mixed in with Slash, Jimmy Bain, Don Dokken, Dave Grohl again, and members of awful bands like Huntress.  The air was thick with the musk of Affliction so we bailed for some late night food at a nearby 24 hour diner.  

At the diner, before we could even order, a guy wearing a Motörhead shirt approached Photo Ray and asked if he wanted to be in his film.  He was looking for a "Scott Ian-type"... That was either a classic L.A. Moment or a very, very awkward pick up line.  Born to lose.. Live to win!

If you bought one of every Motörhead merch item you would have paid around $250.  Yeah, their merch looked good.  On the way back to the hotel, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. All in all it was a fun school night in the City of Angels with one of my sacred all-time favorite bands, like, ever... "and don't forget the Joker".