Metallica – Live At Grimey’s

Metallica - Live At Grimey's

First off, Metallica has a weird history for me as far as being a fan goes. Their 1988 album …And Justice For All is really the only album I can put on at any time of day, wherever I may be and listen to it in it’s entirety. Yes, they have some great songs that I really do like such as, “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, “Don’t Tread On Me”, and the Thin Lizzy cover of “Whiskey In The Jar”. I always picture smoke coming from Kirk Hammett’s guitar during the solo (at about 4min 13sec) in to “Wherever I May Roam”. I remember owning a cassette copy of Metallica and rewinding that solo over and over.

Anyway, Grimey’s is a record shop located in Nashville, TN and on June 12, 2008 Metallica played in the basement for fan club members, friends and record store clerks. A day later they played a highly anticipated show at Bonnaroo. On November 26, 2010 in conjunction with Record Store Day and Black Friday, the recording was finally made available. A CD version as well as a double 10″ gatefold edition were released. I purchased the CD version. Being a “casual” Metallica fan, as well as a fan of off-shoot releases that hold their own special, intimate vibe (such as Elvis Costello:Live At Hollywood High and Trashmen / Teen Trot: Live At Ellsworth, WI, August 22, 1965) The Grimey’s show holds that same feeling for me, plus their nine song set is comprised of some really powerful songs that I enjoy.

After my first listen, this is truly not your typical Metallica show. Playing for such an intimate crowd gives way to plenty of between song banter, as well beginning and mid-song banter. Track one, “No Remorse” off of 1983’s Kill ‘Em All starts out with Lars shouting “and now we’re going to play the whole new album”, speaking of course about Death Magnetic. James replies with, “but it sounds a lot like the old stuff…is everybody ready!? are your sure!? Here’s a new song, not”. They rip straight into it and the soundboard quality recording just melts your face, it sounds like it’s been done in front of 10,000 screaming fans. I’m sure the people crammed into the space all shit themselves from the bass being driven up their asses. The band lets the crowd take the chorus, which is always a real highlight in any live recording. They end “No Remorse” with a typical big finish and head right in to track two, “Fuel”. Metallica again lets the crowd take some of the vocal responsibilities. It makes you really give this band a second thought. Most giant, arena rock bands won’t be bothered with playing such an intimate show that really allows their fans to become a part of it. It seems that most bands operate in their own little world, leaving us fans shelling out our money in often futile attempts to feel like we matter. Metallica shows that they’re not one of those bands.

Grimey's

Track three is from …And Justice For All, “Harvester Of Sorrow”. Hetfield begins the song with a growl, and follows it with “hey, hey, hey”, as the crowd chants along. He eggs them on a little more with a righteous “come on!”, spoken not as a command but more as a welcoming invite to join in with the celebration of all that is metal. Hammett’s solo is much like that from “Wherever I May Roam”, minus the smoke but equal in intensity. The crowd applauds during the pause and Hetfield shouts part in disappointment, part in jovial camaraderie, “shut up, shut up……..please.” One fan even goes further and screams during the crowd’s blunder, “Search And Destroy!!!!!!”. As they start track four “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, more banter ensues. “Someone’s at the door”, followed by, “land shark”. It really is a testament to their career when more than 25 years later they can show a serious side, and aren’t afraid to show that they can hang with the best of them. Before the chorus, mid-song Hetfield asks, “can you sing it!?!” to which the crowd gladly accommodates his question with a triumphant “sanitarium, leave me be”. And later at the second chorus he asks again, “what is it?”, the crowd again replies joyfully, “sanitarium, leave me be”.

The song ends and James jokes with the crowd even more. “So who’s here tonight? where you guys from?” He then goes around and asks the crowd individually for a few moments. Bassist Robert Trujillo chimes in with, “Compton, yo, West Side.” He then starts the bass intro to “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. I must say his bass distortion sounds absolutely terrible . Picture over 5,000 watts being played through a plastic bag, flapping under the pressure. Luckily it’s killed as the song chugs on past the intro. As the songs winds down and into feedback, Ulrich gets on a soapbox a bit and jokingly takes a jab at Metallica’s fame. “You guys have been supporting us here in the basement for a long, long time. I just want you guys to know that a couple of people from Warner Brothers Records are here, and if you guys really support what were doing, maybe we can actually get out of the basement and get a record deal”. I think I speak for all Metallica fans when I say we’re really tired of Lars. Every time he speaks, I’m just reminded of that part in Get Him To The Greek where Russell Brand’s character Aldous Snow says what we all want to say if given the chance. “Hey why don’t you go sue Napster you little Danish twat”. I wonder if Lars realizes that 99.9% of music fans do not like him, and every pretentious bone in his body. Moving on.

“Master Of Puppets”, the title of their 1986, 6x Platinum album is track five. It plays out as any live version of the song could. Hetfield changes a few words here and there. Instead of saying “now I’m killing you”, he switches is with, “now I’m fucking you”. “Master Of Puppets” is just as rocking as all the rest of the tracks on this album. They give another big finish to this song ending with Hetfield exclaiming to the crowd, “excellent singing” and quickly gives a four count which begins the next song, “Sad But True”. Slower than normal with an extra dose of sludge, the guitar riff is mean and nasty and this recorded version is no exception. That is if we can not let the Kid Rock sample ruin our mental recollections of this massive tune.

“Oh you so metal, the ripper!!!” is how number eight begins. “Motorbreath” is quick at just over three minutes. Track three off of Kill “Em All it shows a bit of their punk rock side. Surely brought about by their deceased bassist Cliff Burton’s love for The Misfits.

Metallica

The show ends with track nine, “Seek And Destroy” which comes again from Kill “Em All. As Hetfield states at the beginning “oh mighty riff”, it sure fucking is. As heavy as Metallica is and can be at times, this live version proves it in every way. During the track it sounds as if members of the crowd are coming on stage and screaming into the mic, “seek and destroy”. “Seek And Destroy” is a perfect end to a perfect set.

Live At Grimey’s gives new meaning to the term “short and sweet”. Although most of the songs found on this release range from 4 to 9 minutes, the overall crunch and fury makes you forget about the length of each song. No pun intended but nothing else matters. Metallica has been around for just under 30 years. Anyone who has seen their VH1 Behind The Music knows what they’ve had to go through to get here. Fans threw back copies of Kill ‘Em All at their early shows. If only they knew now what Metallica would become maybe they would have made better choices. Bands try hard, too hard sometimes, to re-invent themselves as a way to increase the chances of their commercial longevity. Although with Load, and Re-Load Metallica were accused of selling out. The highly criticized documentary Some Kind Of Monster showed us a totally different side of Metallica. The “control freaks” Hetfield and Ulrich, and the “quiet one” Kirk Hammet. The reverb heavy ping on Ulrich’s snare drum on St. Anger turned most people away more than the lack of fluidity and lyrical content in the songs. Bob Rock produced and played bass on the album, post-Newsted, pre-Trujillo.

Fans always come and go and a band may be pegged as this or that throughout their careers. It may be re-invention, it may other things. One thing is for sure Metallica strives to write what they want, plain and simple. They love their fans and appreciate their support more than we could know. Releasing Live At Grimey’s in the way that they did proves that they’re not plastic rock stars. Although their highly publicized¬† Napster debate brought along it’s share of respect lost, this should have quelled by now and this live album will do it for them that much more. Metallica brings it’s billions of fans a very special, intimate, and at times funny little set from 2008. Although it’ll be a bit harder to get due to it’s limited release, you must do your best to get out now and buy it. Goose bumps will ensue through the power of the metal contained within’.

Brad Tilbe About Brad Tilbe

I am 35 years old. I was born and raised in Central New York. I currently reside in Seattle, WA.