What does it sound like?:
If I have to tell you what this sounds like, you probably need to be on another website. The definitive biker’s band doing unreconstructed (even then) rock n’ roll with a hard n’ heavy edge, it’s tongue in the cheek and mouth of a worryingly young looking female fan, it’s nose stinging from bathtub speed, the taste of which taken away by large glasses of Jack Daniels and coke (the drinking kind) and chain-smoking. Bass and drums are bowel-pummelling on the computer speakers, and live it was a palpable workout, with flailing teens and idiot-dancers having the best psychotherapy session then available. The economy of the riffage, the wry but unrelenting songs, the clear love between audience and band … it’s no wonder this album was a massive success at the time, and remains definitive, with the definitive line-up also.
The album comprises the full gig as released, plus sound checks, and 2 shows from Newcastle, and one from Leeds. Paul Morley types may wonder if this may involve any variation and smirk cleverly, but anyone who likes Mötörhead should not give a damn. Mark E Smith said “it’s not repetition, it’s discipline”, and that applies here, too. It may not be for neurotics, pseuds, or the uptight, but that was exactly the point. This music either draws you into the community and the abandon, or locks you out. Lemmy reveals himself a sardonic frontman in his stage comments, like the kind of stern but effective NCO, school teacher, or cool uncle we loved and learned – sometimes rather too much – from. He is still sorely missed.
What does it all *mean*?
Hard rock and metal suffered in the 70s as the cult of the rock virtuoso musician over-extended. What may happen in a jam, or the fiddly arrangements in progressive rock does not work in metal or hard rock so well. What fans liked best was the intensity, pantomime and the fast rockers, not the songs about the Hell of “life on the road” (with the illuminated mirror ball), the smashed fake guitar at the end of the 10 minute solo, followed by another 10 minute drum-bloody-solo, and the hairy singer shrieking with sincerity and “soul” (Deep Purple, i’m looking at you). It was more than a bit dull. Dr Feelgood and punk, then Thin Lizzy livened up hard rock and metal nicely, though received wisdom rock snobs wouldn’t quite get it until The Cult and Metallica added 80s dynamics to the classic formula. Mötörhead drew punks less interested when their punk and post-punk bands discovered “they had always had a funk dimension”, and it is no surprise that bands like the Anti-Nowhere League took up this fanbase when Mötörhead were elsewhere touring. Mötörhead obliterated the shame associated with liking unashamed noisy rock, and probably enabled the survival of hard rock which otherwise, as noted, had become distinctly tired.
Goes well with…
Pils lager. Jack n coke (“the Lemmy”), cigarette smoke, sweaty denim cut-offs, uppers.
June 24th, 2021
Might suit people who like…
Anyone who likes dumb-smart archetypical rock: The Ramones, MC5, Metallica, Judas Priest, The Hamsters, Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts, Iggy, Alice Cooper, etc.