Music » Livewire

Motorhead

Friday, June 16, at the Agora Theatre

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Twenty-five years have passed since Motorhead formed in London, but it still comes as a shock that frontman Lemmy Kilmister was once a member of Hawkwind. Turning his back on the space rock world, he formed Motorhead with a group of dirty-jeans-and-leather-wearing miscreants whose music was as inviting as a soccer thug who finds out the bars have just stopped serving. At a time when England's youth were primed to stick pins in their faces and slam into each other, brutal rock and roll became Motorhead's modus operandi. As the years passed, its stormtrooping musicality and Lemmy's anti-authoritarian personality allowed punks as well as metalheads to find common ground. Of course, that doesn't mean we need to be subjected to a cover of the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" on the band's latest album, We Are Motorhead.

Much of We Are Motorhead typifies the band's patented style -- a gale-force union of bass, guitar, and drums complements Lemmy's raspy voice, which always sounds like he gargled with acid earlier in the day. The threesome functions best on the out-of-control "Out to Lunch" and the foreboding "Wake the Dead." Just as he surprised listeners years ago by displaying a pensive side on "1916," Lemmy shows he can be a sensitive geezer as well. Call it a power ballad to his face, and he'd probably head-butt you, but "One More Fucking Time" is really a romantic moment. If Lemmy brought anything with him from his Hawkwind days, it's been an inability to retain band members. Motorhead's de facto leader has played with a dozen different lineups. On We Are Motorhead, he's joined by guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee. And if they left tomorrow, he would simply find some new dirtbags to join him and carry on the tradition.

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