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Ventura Theatre; Ventura, CA; 04/07/02

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"We are Motorhead, and we're going to fuck you up." So intoned the legendary Lemmy as the equally legendary Motorhead took the stage. And they proceeded to do just as Lemmy promised.

Although it was the first night of their tour in support of their new 'Hammered" CD, you would never have known it. Motorhead was as tight as any band could be, ripping their way through old classics ("Metropolis," "Killed By Death"), some newer tunes ("Overnight Sensation") and a pair of songs from the new CD ("Voices From the War," "Brave New World.")

As always, despite the fact that Lemmy is and always will be the band's icon, the live performance is the chance for guitarist Phil Campbell to shine. Phil is in his element when onstage, and his masterful fretwork was incredible. Motorhead has a big, big sound and Phil is a major part of it.

Lemmy was on top of his game as well, blistering his fingers with his unique bass-playing style and showing his usual stoic charisma vocally. Mikky Dee - whom Lemmy has called the greatest drummer in rock'n'roll - certainly proved that he was one of them, pounding the mighty rhythm that Motorhead needs to be its solid backbone.

In addition, as promised by the warnings posted outside the Ventura Theater ("Motorhead is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest band in the world. Please use appropriate ear protection"), the band was LOUDER than ever. You know the old saying, "If it's too loud, you're too old?" Now it should read "If it's too loud, you're ... huh? What was that?" We amused ourselves at times by watching a crumpled chip bag dance around our table as the sound of Motorhead shook the very foundations of the Ventura Theatre.

Opening acts IDIOT SAVANT and KAPTIN KRUNCH were hardcore metal bands with incredibly tight musicianship and gave the genre fans in the audience just what they wanted: music that was extreme and hugely loud. Krunch's music was a little more straight-forward and the live performance was powerful. Except for excessive leaping-from-the-amplifier antics (once is enough, really), their set was strong. Idiot Savant took more chances with their sound but the over-the-top stage persona and red-needled hair of the lead vocalist drew necessary attention away from the band's unique style. Don't get me wrong, the vocalist was good, just a little too into the moment.

First act up was SURF THE BLACK whose sound was much like headliners Motorhead and whose set was perhaps the second-best received, after Motorhead themselves. 

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.