Few things in rock are as pure, satisfying and loud as the sound of Motörhead. They sit at the ear-shattering nexus of punk and metal — or what leader Lemmy Kilmister prefers to call rock & roll: "You like rock & roll, don't ya?"
Their spot on the 2014 Coachella bill was thrilling but also a surprise, not only because metal might seem outside the fest's original alt-rock comfort zone, but because health issues had recently taken Lemmy off the road while he recovered. One of his very first nights back onstage (after an L.A. warm-up show April 11th) was Sunday in the Mojave tent, plucking a leather-clad bass and singing his timeless tales of sex, drink and rock & roll. "Here we are again," Lemmy said by way of introduction. "It's fucking cold up here." Added guitarist Phil Campbell irritably: "Who wants it louder?"
The songs ripped as fans expect, from the driving "Over the Top" to the happily grim "Killed By Death," sung by Lemmy with eyes bulging, teeth bared. "Just 'Cos You Got the Power" was described by Lemmy as "about all those fucking politicians who are stealing all your money."
If Lemmy ever looked at all uncertain up there, those feelings were incinerated by mid-way into the Motörhead performance. Fans raised horns above, but when Lemmy brought out Slash to add another guitar for the last two songs, the temperature was raised. Motörhead and Slash charged into the band’s signature song, "Ace of Spades," and the floor erupted into a full-force circle pit. Clearly, Lemmy's band and life mission were back in effect as he said his goodbyes: "Don't forget about us! We are Motörhead!"