I Don't Wanna Live Forever ~ Motörhead @ The Warfield, 10/5/09

There was something about going to a Motörhead show that inspired me to dress up a bit. So, I dusted off my skull-n-bones flashy cowboy boots, pulled out the bandana, and put on my six shooter tank top and necklace. I had neglected to think about the fact that my walk to The Warfield up 6th Street- aka Skid Row in SF- is like a fashion show for the psychologically impaired. They all voiced their approval….I think.

I made it in to see Nashville Pussy closing out their set. The female lead singer was destringing her guitar, and then was carried off by security through the crowd. It seemed like it was probably a fun, but gimmick laden set.

At this point, my friend unexpectedly hooked me up with a backstage pass. So I made my way down to the basement to check out the scene. The small room was filled with people, who turned out to be a combination of EA and Double Fine employees who were there as a result of the soon to be released Brutal Legend game, which features Lemmy. Now, this is particularly amusing to me because in my ‘real’ life, I work in videogames; but at the moment, I am in HardRockChick mode. So part of me is like, “Ha! I’m in the same room as Tim Schafer!”, and the other part of me is like, “Whoa, there’s Lemmy!”.

I helped myself to a Miller Genuine Draft (the champagne of beers!) and sat down to chat with the friends of my friend. When Lemmy walked out of his dressing room, he was mobbed by all of the gamer guys, so I didn’t get to meet him…..but I’ve learned over the course of my rock-n-roll summer that being backstage is really more about meeting interesting people and learning their stories that brought them to be back there, rather than meeting the actual rock stars that will forget you five seconds later.

I went back up and caught a bit of Reverend Horton Heat, who sounded good but were a bit boring live. Then I hung out in the lobby between sets, people watching. There was some very interesting fashion going on at this show. But the thing I liked best was this: I was one of the youngest there! This felt good.

When it was near time for Motörhead, I followed my friend Photo Ray down to the photo pit, and scored a nice close spot behind someone in a wheelchair. My thought was good sight lines; but I severely underestimated the crowd and the volume. Normally standing close to the stacks isn’t too big of a problem (I have good, custom earplugs), but Motörhead are so loud that my ears still hurt as I write this. But did I move? No. Also, as soon as the show started, the swirling pit was throwing bodies, clothing, and shoes at me almost nonstop for the rest of the night, banging me up against the stacks and the wheelchair and the security guard. But did I move? No. I sacrifice time, money, safety, and comfort to be close at shows. That’s what it’s all about for me.

I’ve come to realize that pits with a higher median age tend to be the most dangerous. Mostly what it comes down to is that kids these days don’t know, myself included. The people in that pit went to shows that were really rough….we live in mellow times now. Also, The Warfield tends to have the roughest pits out of the venues here- there’s something about the long and shallow space that spreads the pit out to the fringes. Plus, I think the older bodies get thrown around easier; people lose their balance and elbows fly where they shouldn’t….there aren’t the normal young meatheads that serve as a fence pushing people back into the circle.

Lemmy is the real deal- an icon who’s image stands for so much…you just don’t see that very often. His persona and appearance is so particularly defined that while the casual look of guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee might seem discongruent in another band, it works here. Lemmy is enough of a character for one band.

lemmy

I’m having to work plugging the filter in my earplug with one finger into my dance routine as I use the other hand to ward of flailing bodies through ‘Iron Fist’. Everything in my body is vibrating, but Lemmy is right there, and Phil keeps coming up and smiling at my little corner, which was the most female section of the floor…haha.

phil

The crowd surfers start…surfing. About a third of the way through the set, a young, attractive, and….ummm…very well endowed girl surfs in a mini dress. Wearing a g-string. And I saw her haircut. Not the one on her head. I was horrified….she looked to be getting groped right and left, and her dress practically came off in the process. I was expecting a sobbing girl to come around the barrier once she was rescued by security, but she bounced around smiling, waved at Lemmy, threw some horns, and went right back into the thick of it. Metal.

Through all the thrashing that the people on the barrier were getting from pit backlash, there was a guy up there with a pen and paper in hand, jotting down notes…mostly every time Lemmy spoke. Notes on paper! Metal! I use my iPhone.

I found it interesting that Lemmy mentioned that they would be on Jimmy Kimmel in a few nights, but never mentioned that Brutal Legend comes out next Tuesday…he delivered all of his ‘lines’ with his particular charm- deadpan yet sincere and endearing. The funniest thing that happened was at the very end, when he was introducing the band, he caught someone up front yawning…so he pointed at them and said ‘I saw that!’ and yawned back at them. It was past the majority of the audience’s bedtime….but no one showed any signs of slowing down.

mh

Highlights for me were ‘Metropolis’, ‘Killed By Death’, ‘Bomber’, ‘Ace of Spades’, and ‘Overkill’. Low point was the drum solo, but mostly because I couldn’t see it from my perspective, and it was so painfully loud.

At the very end, a nearly 60 year old man crowd surfed. I had visions of a Nine Inch Nails reunion tour, and got shivers.

All of the guitar picks that Phil threw my way were nabbed by people around me, and to my surprise, the security guy next to me went out of his way to go find one that fell behind the barrier! And then he found me in line to go backstage and gave me another one. Best. Security. Guy. Ever.

goodies

    Setlist:

Iron Fist
Stay Clean
Be My Baby
Rock Out
Metropolis
Over The Top
One Night Stand
I Got Mine
Guitar Solo
The Thousand Names Of God
Another Perfect Day
In The Name Of Tragedy
Just ‘Cos You Got The Power
Drum Solo
Going To Brazil
Killed By Death
Bomber

Encore:
Whorehouse Blues
Ace Of Spades
Overkill

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4 Comments

  1. umlaut

    10.07.2009

    Reply

    A GREAT review and insight! When Motörhead played The Warfield in 1985 the venue still had theater seating on the main floor from its days as a movie palace.. During the show the first 2-3 rows of seats were ripped out by the crowd and chair parts thrown onstage… At least one person suffered a broken leg and another climbed up on the PA stack and dove off. Because of the damage to the building, it was the last Metal show held at The Warfield for several years.

  2. thomasinsfo

    10.07.2009

    Reply

    A very good and insightful review. Having seen Motorhead several times in the past, including the Download Festival a few years ago, this was a really fun show, but definitely an older, more metal crowd than Nine Inch Nails. You are right that these "older" metal shows are really brutal and rough. Being in the pit with the other crazies was a fun, although it was a bruising experience (I have the bruises to prove it!). As Lemmy likes to say "Louder, Faster, Better." Motorhead is definitely not for everyone, but if you want to just to go to a really loud and heavy show, Lemmy is the man!

  3. photoray

    10.08.2009

    Reply

    Nice review! I had no idea you were behind me as I was trying to make my way into the pit. I think this may have been my favorite Motörhead show ever. "Lenny" is still the fuckin' man. 😉

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