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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews


Live In Dekalb, 2002

Review by Mike Korn

The peaceful farming community of Dekalb, IL, was rocked to its very foundations by the devastating 1-2 punch of Motörhead and Morbid Angel on May 7, 2002. When these veterans of the metal scene finished their assault, the cornfields surrounding Dekalb probably resembled the scorched earth of a battleground more than anything else. The setting was Otto's Niteclub, a well-respected venue often attended by students from nearby NIU. I doubt seriously if Otto's ever had to deal with volume and aggression like they did on this night. After withering sets by opening bands Today Is The Day, Speedealer, and the mighty Morbid Angel it was Motörhead's turn.
Arguably it is this band who started the whole extreme metal phenomenon (though they still call themselves "rock and roll"). It was truly a sublime experience seeing the Terrible Trio in the intimate confines of Otto's. From where I was, you could see a million miles of road carved into Lemmy's leathery countenance. This is a rare treat indeed!

Adam Bielawski
Adam Bielawski
Blasting off with the apocryphal "We Are Motörhead", the band treated us to an eclectic selection of bruising rockers spanning their lengthy career. Some stuff like "Bomber" and "Metropolis" I was kind of expecting but we also got some rarer tunes like "Nothing Up My Sleeve", "Shoot You In The Back" and "Civil War". For the punks, there was an angry cover of "God Save the Queen" and "Ramones", the latter of which Lemmy dedicated to his late friend, Joey Ramone. The bouncy "Going To Brazil" and raucous "Born to Raise Hell" showed the deeper rockabilly and blues roots of Motörhead's music to good effect. To tell the truth, the show had something for every Motörhead fan to appreciate. Although I was surprised that, from their fine new album "Hammered", only "Brave New World" was played.

Adam Bielawski
Adam Bielawski
The real highlight for me was a bulldozing version of one of the band's best songs, "Orgasmatron". Played with only pinpoints of light highlighting the musician's faces from beneath, this was completely crushing Motör-metal at its greasy, gruesome best. It's apparent from the get-go what a tightly wound machine Motörhead is. Mikkey Dee is one of the most physically active and hardest-hitting drummers in rock. He may not hit the double bass BPM like Pete Sandoval does but he NEVER misses a beat. Guitarist Phil Campbell is even more underrated. As Lemmy pointed out, Phil's been with Motörhead for an astounding 18 years now (and still people think Fast Eddie Clarke was better!) and he does a great job unleashing blistering guitar work that still manages to keep the true rock and roll feel to it. And what can you say about the invincible Lemmy Kilminster? This old dinosaur IS rock and roll and he will outlive every other person on the planet, playing bass for mutated cockroaches in some far future dive!

Adam Bielawski
Adam Bielawski

The band wrapped up the main set with "Iron Fist" but, as expected, they encored with the trademark "Ace of Spades" ("Bet you didn't think we'd play this one", Lemmy joked) and the atom-smashing "Overkill". After the band took their final well-deserved bows, a wall of feedback and noise engulfed the exhausted crowd...

What a show! What a band! Catch Motörhead whenever possible or be sorry for the rest of your miserable days.

Editor's Note: The photos accompanying this review were actually taken in Chicago, IL.

Adam Bielawski
Adam Bielawski
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 3 at
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
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