Call me Russ L

GDFAF #14: Motorhead / Clutch / Crucified Barbara (9/11/6)

Posted in Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2006, Music by Russ L on 10 November, 2006

And so the time came for the final gig of Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2006. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself from now on.

Original Goodfaffer (Godfafther?) Pete Ashton was amused to hear that I was finishing with a Motorhead gig but noted that it did seem right somehow, given the ‘endurance test’ aspects of all this. We’ll come back to that. For me, doing it this way seemed apt for another reason – if there’s another band who embody ‘live popular music’ to quite the same degree, I can’t think of who it might be. This fortnight has been a salute to the form, and I can’t think of a better act to end it all.

It was The Academy, though, and so it was a case of just watching the bands rather than finishing with a big drunken hurrah. That much genuinely is a shame.

Swedish band Crucified Barbara were the unadvertised openers, and that has to be either the single best or single worst band name I’ve ever heard. I honestly cannot decide which. Yet another ‘OK melodic rock band,’ anyway, and despite such groups having become the bane of my existence over the last fortnight I couldn’t muster up any degree of unjustified hatred for one of ‘em on the last night. Nothing particularly interesting about their music, though, and having all your band members be edible Swedish ladies doesn’t really change that.

Clutch were the main support, and in all honesty are a band I like a lot more than Motorhead (or most bands, really. I’ve been known to refer to them as The Best Rock Band Currently Operating, and there isn’t really a lot of hyperbole there). They’re certainly my most-seen foreign band – this was my seventh time with them. Their groooooving rock has the vocals mixed right up this time around, which I’ve never seen before but made for a good sound (although – as always with this sort of thing – I’ve no idea whether that was the plan or just what the soundman managed to conjure up for them), and opening your set with ‘Escape From The Prison Planet’ is a genius plan. They jam a lot, admittedly, and I’m not normally an avid supporter of that kind of behaviour, but they always manage to keep it on the right side of interesting – the swirly, shimmery bit (technical terms) which built up and coalesced into the riffs of ‘Big News’ was fantastic, for example. Amazing band. The music dying away to just leave vocalist Neil Fallon on his own roaring “…IN THE BACK OF A JACKED UP FORD…” was as great an ending to a set as “We are Motorhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll” is a beginning to one.

So yes, they are Motorhead and they play rock ‘n’ roll. There’s rarely a lot you can say about a Motorhead set, really – they’re pretty much the definition of ‘consistency.’ I can’t even discuss what songs they chose to play or not play, as apparently Lemmy doesn’t like people doing that. He’s a funny ‘un, that boy. I’d better shut up though, ‘cos I think I just saw him walk past our house.

What I might address is the still-widely held polite fiction (as referred to above) that Motorhead are the loudest band in the world. They may well be on a purely scientific level of decibels (although isn’t that Ted Nugent? I know Manowar have made similar claims, too, but I suspect that’s just a load of foolishness), but they don’t really play in spaces that are enclosed enough to make you actually feel it on your eardrums anymore. The additional racks of speakers either side of the stage might well look like two upended stretches of the Maginot Line, but The Academy is a huge, huge room. There was no way this was going to deafen me in the way that the Baroness gig did at The Medicine Bar the previous week, and indeed it didn’t. The heat at this gig made for more of an endurance test than the volume.

I don’t think that matters, of course. It was well loud enough, and we still have the high-energy metallic boogie we came for. They do have an elemental sort of power about them, do Motorhead, capable of both the precise attack of any metal band and frenetic shred of any punk band as and when each suit them. A fitting end to the whole thing.

So, ladies and gents, that was Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2006. I can’t believe it’s over.

~ Russ L, lost for words.

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10 Responses

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  1. Chris C said, on 10 November, 2006 at 6:14 pm

    you’ve survived! Well done! I really am impressed, I wasn’t sure you would make it.

    by the way, did you mean ‘edible’ or ‘eligible’ swedish ladies? Freudian slip or intentional?

  2. Pete Ashton said, on 10 November, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    Yay! Congratulations!

    Now you have a nice sit down in front of the telly tonight. Stick a movie in or something. Eat biscuits.

  3. Dead Kenny said, on 10 November, 2006 at 8:51 pm

    Well done Russ! I know after watching so many bands at Summer Sundae and Reading within a fortnight of each other back in August it fair put off going to see bands for a few weeks so you can now put your feet up for a while.

    Finishing Going Deaf for a Fortnight with Motorhead was a particularly inspired choice.

  4. Russ L said, on 10 November, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    I scoff at such thoughts of staying in. I went to the theatre.

    Tomorrow I’ll stay in. It’ll feel like such a relief, but at the same time I won’t really know what to do with myself. I’ll probably have to get a plastic glass to drink out of to settle. Maybe drop a few ciggy buts on the floor.

    Chris – edible, yes. Ahem. Enough of that.

  5. throughsilver said, on 11 November, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    I have never seen Clutch, and I’ve liked them since 1998. I am pathetic.

    Did they happen to play ‘Dragonfly’?

  6. Russ L said, on 11 November, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    Nope, but I have heard them play it live in the past.

    Go and see Clutch when you get the chance, honestly. Really really really. I know you don’t go to many gigs, but they are fantastic.

    On a distantly related subject (and I imagine you know but on the off-chance you don’t) – are you aware that this Genghis Tron band that you like are playing at The Fenton in Leeds on Saturday the 18th?

    Assuming you’re not going to London for Neurosis that day, of course. I will be making arrangements for my passage to the southlands tomorrow.

  7. throughsilver said, on 12 November, 2006 at 12:37 am

    Don’t.

    The 18th has been the source of massive dilemma to me. I mean, I haven’t seen the ‘Rosis since 1999, and I feel I owe it to them – to myself. But at the same time, I have money issues, my London contact is coming to Leeds that weekend, Tron is cheaper and nearer – truth be told Genghis wins the Battle of Last Album, too.

    Knowing my luck, it’ll have sold out, so I’m off to the tix place on Monday. I rationalise my decision further with the assertion that Neurosis should bloody tour. In my day, they travelled to Bradford. Now (and I’m talking last time they tripped across the Atlantic, too) they can’t be arsed going further than London.

  8. Chris C said, on 12 November, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    I saw Clutch at the old Hop & Grape when they played with Raging Speedhorn years ago. Not the sort of thing I’d normally listen to but I liked them.

    the Enablers stuff I’ve downloaded is fantastic, Russ. Cheers for that tip-off.

  9. Russ L said, on 12 November, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Tru-dat-Silv: We all miss the days when Neurosis would visit your Bradfords and your Dudleys. At least we in this country get one in London. In that ridiculously long cue to get in in London last time around (I still have nightmares about it) there were a bunch of Finnish geezers a few places ahead of me, who’d travelled all the way over here just to see ‘Rosis.

    In fact, wasn’t that part of a ‘world tour’ of four gigs? I seem to recall it being LA, New York, London and possible Berlin, and that was it.

    Nonetheless, I have made the necessary bookings and darn sarf shall I be going next week.

    Chris: Glad to be of service. They really are a quality band.

  10. throughsilver said, on 13 November, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Think of me when they play ‘Locust Star’ (and maybe even ‘Lost’!). Tron is a ‘get in on the door’ deal, so a-traipsing I will go. And hoping for the best.

    If Neurosis play ‘Through Silver In Blood’, I will kill people.


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