Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Head Cat at Neurolux, Sept. 21

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 2:18 PM

"Who would win a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
Trick question: Lemmy is God."


Lemmy Kilmister of The Head Cat at Neurolux
  • Josh Gross
  • Lemmy Kilmister of The Head Cat at Neurolux
The first thing I thought seeing Lemmy Kilmister (bass/vox for Motorhead and The Head Cat) stroll through the crowd towards the stage was "Whoah. God is kinda short," which was slightly unsettling. Rock gods should be enormous, larger than life. And that's not Lemmy by any stretch of the imagination—though he did have some supernaturally awesome, perhaps even "godlike" boots.

But even with those boots, that underwhelming stature makes one wonder how he became a totem for rock and roll. Then he and the rest of The Head Cat—Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats on drums and Danny B. Harvey of The Lonesome Spurs and The Rockcats—cut into "There's Good Rockin' Tonight," from Elvis's Sun Sessions, and it all made sense.

Lemmy is an anti-god. While distinct, his voice is by no means "good" in the classical sense. His musicianship pushes no boundaries. His performance (standing fairly still) was easily overshadowed by Slim Jim Phantom's wild faces and enthusiasm on drums and Lemmy's clipped stage banter was far from compelling. But when an audience hears or sees Lemmy, they see someone as imperfect as themselves. And they see someone doing something they could do. That core, that heart, has always been the essence of rock and roll. The rest is marketing.

Slim Jim Phantom of The Head Cat at Neurolux
  • Josh Gross
  • Slim Jim Phantom of The Head Cat at Neurolux

And The Head Cat is pure rock and roll. Watching them blast through tunes by Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Eddie Cochran, Creedence and Jerry Lee Lewis wasn't seeing a great show as much as it was a love note to the music that inspired them. That's why the band was a bit sloppy and a lot awesome. It didn't need to be practiced as much as sincere. Lemmy himself may have said it best as he tuned up a bit after four songs. "Good enough."

It's a rare band or artist of that stature that would even back themselves up enough professionally to play somewhere like Neurolux when they could be playing ballrooms or stadiums.

Lemmy isn't a messiah so much as the Llama on a mountaintop. He doesn't preach or try convert. He doesn't advertise. He just gets up in the morning and does his thing: rock and roll. And that's why people seek him out. Will The Head Cat change your life or offer new dimensions of musical possibility? Absolutely not. But if you see them play, you'll hoist a beer high, sing your heart out and forget about whatever ails you.

Lemmys awesome boots.
  • Josh Gross
  • Lemmy's awesome boots.

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