Lemmy Kilminster - vocals, bass; Brian Robertson - guitars; Phil Taylor - drums
Motorhead is the tough guy bar band. Their mix of burly biker leanings and fast, furious, heavy, blues-laced rock is nothing short of what it might feel like to shank yourself in the face. Absurd and brutish, you got to hand it to them for leaving the audience refreshed. The late '70s was a groundbreaking era in terms of the declaration of speed and thrash metal, and Motorhead was holding it down at the forefront. But in the early '80s, things rounded an interesting corner for the British band.
Original guitarist, Fast Eddie, left the band after a rather silly dispute regarding a single with Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics. And 1983's album Another Perfect Day, following six classic Motorhead albums, was the first and last to feature the more mainstream and melodic tendencies of guitarist Brian "Robbo" Robertson, a onetime member of Thin Lizzy. Turns out, albeit a bit confusing and different, this was Motorhead's most unique album. There are classic tracks to be had, like "Shine" and "Back At the Funny Farm," for example, that revisit their original bite. Bu this was all after Iron Fist (their previous record), and was unilaterally considered the start of the band's descent until their second uprising in the early '90s.
At this King Biscuit show at L'Amour in Brooklyn, you can hear hardcore Motorhead fans screaming out for them to play old favorites, but Robbo's stubbornness to learn the older material pretty much keeps the set list at Another Perfect Day - save for "Iron Horse/Born To Lose," which was dedicated to their friend in the audience. Motorhead had fire, and seeing them live is undoubtedly cool no matter what. But this was 1983, with MTV video pop was on the rise, and Robbo's guitar playing was totally at odds with classic Motorhead structure. The fans were undoubtedly feeling all the weirdness creep in and deflate this volatile genius - and this show is proof.
The liner notes of this concert go as such concerning ol' Robbo: "Robertson was an odd duck in the Motorhead universe; his penchant for shorts and ballet shoes rubbed the denim and leather crowd the wrong way. 'The audience hated him,' Lemmy says now. 'I knew he wouldn't fit in with Motorhead. It was like he was concentrating on just being a special guest instead of being a member of the band.'"
Many of the songs from this album and the show are over four minutes long, undoubtedly the longest ever in the Motorhead discography. This isn't to say they're played badly; the songs are actually good, just different. The typical Motorhead fan was there to hear "Ace of Spades," but they got songs like "Another Perfect Day" instead - a six-minute epic in terms of speed metal. Subsequently, before the very last song of the night, Lemmy heckles people for leaving. He continues on about how most everyone has already left the show, and states that he'd stand up there and play by himself if he had to. They then break into "I Got Mine," which wraps up at almost five and half minutes.
In the Motorhead Universe, less is more.