Over The Weekend: Motorhead, Reverend Horton Heat at the Palladium Ballroom

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Motorhead, Reverend Horton Heat
Palladium Ballroom
September 19, 2009

Better than: playing poker with friends, just waiting on an ace of spades.

Not to harp on the obvious here, but for a 63-year-old man, that Lemmy fella sure can rock.

And, for well over an hour on Saturday night, the crowd at the Palladium Ballroom night got exactly what it had paid for: An epic display of rock 'n' roll--complete with all the bells and whistles and poses one could possibly want--from one of the legitimate legends of the genre.

Never once showing his age, the legendary Motorhead frontman and bassist growled and howled--but never once scowled--at his ecstatic audience, frequently addressing the crowd with a pleasing, if often indecipherable, manner himself. Of course, he had plenty reason to be pleased; joining Lemmy on stage was longtime guitarist Phil Campbell and former Guns N' Roses drumemr Matt Sorum, whose showmanship, if somewhat wankerish, offered a perfect backing to the Lemmy's posturing and, well, incredibly loud performance.

"If you want us to play even louder, make some noise," Lemmy asked the crowd not long into his set's start. The crowd did just that, too; and, though it's tough to tell if the volume level was actually tweaked after this back-and-forth, the levels never once wavered below the most brutal of volumes.

Well, except for the one time: After performing its main set, the three-piece returned to the stage for an encore--at least in part because the one song everyone in the room just had to hear, "Ace of Spades," hadn't yet been played. Before it, though, the band offered up a phenomenal blues-rock take, with Sorum moving up from behind his main kick to flank Lemmy's left and play a smaller kick as a simple guitar-and-drum instrumentation backed Lemmy's vocals and, surprisingly, harmonica. It was kind of a whiplash change of pace, but a nice one, nonetheless, as the band proved it could do more than simply perform at top volume.

And then it came. Lemmy asked the crowd what it wanted to hear, briefly pausing for response before himself responding in kind: "Ah, nevermind, I already know."

"Ace of Spades" it was, of course, and the band ripped through the song as the crowd headbanged along. One more song later and it was over.

But as the band came up to bow and wave its goodbye (oh, and toss about a million picks and drumsticks into the crowd for eager fans to scuffle over), no one seemed to mind.

The show may have been everything the crowd expected it to be, and nothing more--but that was plenty enough.

The same formula applied to local hero and opening act Reverend Horton Heat, who made a return to Dallas on this bill, and shined especially with a performance of longtime favorite "The Devil's Chasin' Me."

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
This was my first Motorhead concert experience. It was, predictably, everything I expected it to be, and a great time. Unfortunately, I missed the first opener, Nashville Pussy, whom I heard kinda stole the thunder out from the Rev's performance...

Random Note: It's been a while since i've seen the curtain covering the back room and bars at the Palladium lifted. Not sure if this is a result of low ticket sales, the room's promoters just trying to keep the room smaller, or both. Either way, it's been a constant--and the recent shows I've seen there have had a warmer feel to them.

By The Way: Before Sorum launched into perhaps too long of a solo, Lemmy introduced him as "from Guns N' Roses and The Cult." A notable pause then followed before Lemmy, intentionally or not, belatedly and halfheartedly added "...and Velevt Revolver." Hilarious.

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