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Motorhead and COC @ B.B. King’s – NYC – 03.12.05

Motorhead and Corrosion of Conformity played at B.B. King’s Saturday, March 12, in a concert I have been looking forward too (at least in the Motorhead aspect) since the October date was cancelled when Lemmy injured his foot. I love the layout of this club since there are two levels separated by a couple of steps, so if you don’t want to have to worry about watching your back the whole show you can still find a spot with a great view of the stage. Since I have a broken finger and didn’t want to put it in harm’s way (yes, I am a wimp), I was worried that hanging back would suck, but I ended up having one hell of a time anyway.

Usually when I go to a concert, I try and get acquainted with the opening bands before I go, so I have an idea of what to expect. This time, however, I did not, and therefore really didn’t know what to expect from the likes of Brand New Sin and Zeke. All I knew about them was that they both played Hard Rock in some shape or form. When Brand New Sin came on at around 7:15, and I saw the lead singer, the first word that came into my mind was “tank”. I could just tell he had a powerful voice by looking at him. Joe Altier has a powerful, gritty voice that sounds a bit like Zakk Wylde’s. The guitars were fast and heavy with a few amazing solos. I didn’t catch them messing up once. My only minor complaint was the instances in which the two guitar players, Kris Wiechmann and Ken Dunham did backing vocals. One of them, it was difficult to tell who, was singing loudly and off-key, but it didn’t really take anything away from the songs. In their half-hour set they mostly played songs from their only full-length album (self titled), but they threw in a few from their new EP. A surprisingly enjoyable performance from this opening band left me craving more and with high expectations for Zeke.

Unfortunately, my hopes were shot, maimed, and then put in a van which was driven off a cliff. I apologize in advance to any Zeke fans who may be reading this for what I am about to say. They were utterly terrible. It would be a stretch to call what they were playing Hard Rock; it was more a mix of a few different genres with disastrous results. The vocalist/lead guitarist looked and dressed like Travis from Blink 182 and was singing like as if he were in ska band. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it does not work when you’re playing fast-paced heavy metal. Not to mention the fact that their music was choppy and didn’t flow at all. After one song I stopped paying attention, and a half hour later it was over. I’m going to try and forget about them now.

Next up came Corrosion of Conformity. I was never a huge fan of theirs, but I have always appreciated them. The rest of the crowd, on the other hand, loved them and there was always a pit going on. Pepper Keenan was great with the crowd and there was some amazing energy flowing through the place. Now, as I said before, I’m not a big fan, so I don’t know song titles. But they played a good variety of old and new material. One of the new songs they played, from their upcoming album “In the Arms of God” featured Woody Weatherman on lead vocals. He’s not as good as Pepper or even Mike, but his voice wasn’t half bad, and it was interesting to see them mix it up. They only played for about 45 minutes – any longer and the crowd might have been too drained for Motorhead.

Finally the moment of truth had come. I was going to see Motorhead live for the first time in my short life. Earlier in the night I met a guy who had seen them 10 times. He showed me an autograph he got from Lemmy in 1981 – seven years before I was born. I almost felt like it was a metal rite of passage. Anyway, enough with my ramblings and on to the performance. It was everything I expected it to be – utterly brilliant. Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey are three of the greatest rock musicians ever. They opened up with “Dr. Rock”, and just took off from there. I was a little disappointed they didn’t play “Eat the Rich” but you can’t have everything you want. They played mostly older tracks, with the most probably off of 1983’s “Another Perfect Day”. A few of my other favorites were, being the youngster that I am, off of Inferno – “Killers” and “In the Name of Tragedy”.

There were a few mishaps, such as equipment problems about halfway through the set that took about 10 minutes to fix, as well as an excess of people crowd surfing onto the stage. This isn’t anything uncommon at a rock show and it’s usually fun, but in this case every time someone did get up there, a security guard would rush up from right behind where Phil was playing, grab the offender, and bring them back the same way. At one point they came one after the other in a constant stream and Phil had to keep moving around, getting knocked into and causing him to mess up. After that Lemmy and Phil sort of half-jokingly said for no one else to come on stage, and for the most part the problem was solved. When they left stage at the “end” I thought they were actually going to stop without playing “Ace of Spades” for a brief moment, but, of course, there was an encore. They kicked it off with “Whorehouse Blues” where Phil and Mikkey played acoustic guitar and Lemmy broke out his harmonica. Afterwards cam “Ace of Spades”, and despite its status as a bit overplayed, it was still a classic moment. A little later I left the building in a state of euphoria. It was very nearly the best show I have ever attended.

--Veritas 03-13-05

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