Mastodon
w/Burning Brides, Early Man
Sat April 9, El Corazòn, 8 pm, $12, all ages.

Motörhead
w/Corrosion of Conformity, Zeke, Class of Zero
Sun April 10, the Showbox, 8 pm, $23 adv./$25 DOS, all ages.

It's every headbanger's wet dream--or worst nightmare: two killer shows in the same weekend. If you've got plenty of dough, you're psyched, 'cause Mastodon are slamming their tits up against the stage at El Corazón on Saturday night, and then Motörhead slay and punish at the Showbox on Sunday. You'll roll into work on Monday afternoon with a splitting headache and maybe a hundred or so fewer dollars in your checking account--depending on how many shots of Jäger you decided to toss back ("No, I love you, man!") and how much blow you needed to slog over the weekend--but whatever. Those of us on a more limited budget, however, are gonna have to pick our battle wisely. The only humane way to do this is to put the headliners in a theoretical steel-cage death match in which the winner gets your ticket money, the corresponding venue gets your bar tab, and you still have enough left to buy groceries. So, without any further introductory bullshit, The Stranger proudly presents: Motörhead versus Mastodon.

Round 1: Lemmy is a fucking legend. I know what you're thinking. "Motörhead have like 600 albums and Mastodon only has two (three if you count 2001's Lifesblood EP, but Mastodon doesn't, so why should we?). Plus, he's Lemmy." The discography thing is whatever--if you're really honest with yourself, there are probably less than an album's worth of Motörhead songs you really, really wanna hear, which automatically puts them on equal footing with Mastodon in that respect. The part about Lemmy being a fucking legend is a pretty solid point, though. I mean, the dude was in Hawkwind. And before that he was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix. He even tried to teach Sid Vicious how to play bass. And even though he's probably about a thousand years old, he still pounds whiskey, plays video poker, and chases skanks at the titty bar around the corner from my house. So score one for Motörhead. Mastodon, on the other hand, crisscross America in a van they call "the Fart Box" and have two ex-members of former AmRep terrorists/current Relapse berserkers Today Is the Day in guitarist Bill Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor. Which is only impressive because it means Dailor and Kelliher did time in rural Massachusetts and dealt with TITD mastermind Steve "Don't Call Me the Six Million Dollar Man" Austin's legendary shit-fits. But it's still not as cool as working for Jimi Hendrix. (Sorry, dudes.)

Round 2: Mastodon are from Atlanta; Motörhead are from England (even though Lemmy lives in Hollywood). England is obviously cooler than Atlanta, but we'll let Mastodon slide on that one, 'cause it's not like you can hold them responsible for shitty geography. So let's compare the bands' latest albums, both released last year. Mastodon's Leviathan (Relapse) is a thrash 'n' roll colossus based, mostly, on Herman Melville's maritime classic Moby Dick. Two of the songs ("Naked Burn" and "Seabeast") feature guitarist Brent Hinds on vocals (all the other jams are sung by bassist Troy Sanders), who fucking goes for it, Ozzy-style--I'm talking pre-adult diaper, pre-Osbournes, pre-Lita Ford Ozzy, when he didn't have to hide his stash from Sharon and the kids. The riffs are huge, the metal is heavy, and I'm not sure, but the whale might even get away in the end. I had trouble following the storyline, since the last song on the record ("Joseph Merrick") is an instrumental tribute to the Elephant Man. Motörhead's Inferno (Sanctuary), on the other hand, was probably the best Motörhead album since 1992's March or Die (the one with "I Ain't No Nice Guy," the Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth theme song, and a cover of The Nuge's "Cat Scratch Fever"). And while the world probably needs a new Motörhead record about as much as it needs a new AC/DC record, it was a stiff reminder that old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time. Lemmy and the boys even won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance last year, but Grammys are basically oversized, gold-plated butt plugs that say, "Congratulations on Your Irrelevance." Plus, they got it for their cover of Metallica's "Whiplash," which wasn't even on Inferno. So score one for Mastodon.

Which pretty much makes it a tie, doesn't it? Fuck it, dude. You figure it out.

editor@thestranger.com

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