Ladies, gentlemen, and heathens, it is Motorhead week here in San Francisco.
It is Motorhead week because the trio itself (consisting, as it long has, of bassist/singer Lemmy Kilmister and a rotating set of guitarists and drummers), is playing the Warfield tomorrow night. This is a chance to see one of the defining acts of heavy music, a band that birthed several subgenres out of its aggressively propulsive guitar rock. Motorhead is like the Darth Vader of metal -- it helped take the sonic force explored by Sabbath and Zeppelin and morph it into something big and evil and yet fun -- not incidentally dark, but gleefully so. ("Killed By Death," anyone?) We should also point out how much a lot of great punk music owes to the lightning-quick, linear attack of Motorhead. So even if landmark albums like Overkill and Ace of Spades are now decades in the past -- and the band's more recent work isn't so thrilling -- seeing Motorhead live is still something to get excited about.
It is also Motorhead week in S.F. because the newly nonprofit Roxie Theater is currently screening the nearly two-hour documentary Lemmy, which examines the legendary bandleader's life, predilections, and considerable influence. (After the jump, read one reviewer's take on that film, which screens twice every night this week at the Roxie.)
Lastly, it is Motorhead week because we just fucking want it to be.
In case you still have no idea why we're stoked about seeing the band, or what to expect at its show tomorrow, watch this:
And here's what one reviewer had to say about Lemmy, the documentary:
"Lemmy is the baddest motherfucker in the world," Dave Grohl exclaims in Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch. It's a sentiment shared by almost everyone who appears on-camera (Dave Navarro, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Slash, Billy Bob Thornton) in this fawning documentary. Devotees of Motörhead frontman and certifiable rock icon Lemmy Kilmister will be in heaven watching this gushing love letter to the man who straddles rock subgenres, but anyone who isn't already a fan will cry for mercy long before the nearly-two-hour film ends. Directors Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski shot their film through a fanboy filter, sans any real critical (in the truest sense of the word) thought or evaluation. That carries Lemmy for a while as it meanders through his professional highs and lows, and his personal life (dad was a prick who deserted the family when Lemmy was a boy; the death of a girlfriend when he was a teenager is presented as his Rosebud, used to explain his choice of drugs and his arm's-length treatment of women). But Olliver and Oshoski are so enamored of their subject that they don't whittle the fat from the meat. While there's lots of humor and occasional insight, most scenes drag long after a point has been made (or not made, as when softball questions are tossed about Lemmy's fondness for Nazi memorabilia), and the directing duo is too earnest to play with presentation when they stumble onto irony -- such as when a surgically overhauled Joan Jett says of Lemmy, "He's a renegade. Everybody else assimilates." -- Ernest HardySo we'll see you at tomorrow's show? In case this wasn't clear already, you should probably wear black.