There aren’t many bands with the balls, back catalog and fan base to pull off a tour with no opening bands, but then again Machine Head have never been your typical metal band.
From day one, founder Robb Flynn has done things his own way, never pandering to trends or giving a shit about public opinion, so when the band announced they were hitting the road in support of their newest album- Bloodstones & Diamonds with no support acts- just an evening with Machine Head, it came as no surprise.
There also aren’t many bands whose loyal fans have literally added the work Fuck to their name. When Machine Head fans say their name or scream it out live, it is always pronounced Machine Fucking Head and that chant could be heard long before they ever took the stage, to a sold out show at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh on a cold night in February.
As a further outpouring of their undying devotion, when the band took the stage almost 45 minutes late, their loyal subjects weren’t fazed at all. Instead, it just made them more rabid, choosing to share concert war stories while they waited, starting that aforementioned chant every few minutes.
When the intro music of Ozzy’s “Diary of A Madman” had faded and they finally hit the stage, they immediately unleashed hell. That wave of energy was equally matched by the crowd, who unleashed a little hell of their own, in the form of earth shaking circle pits.
If people weren’t moshing, they were jumping or moving in some way and unlike some bands that get maybe a handful of people that know all the words, at a Machine Head show every single person there knows the lyrics by heart and sings them loud and proud in beautiful unison, a real sight to behold.
Another thing that was beautiful to see was the mix of ages in the fans, from grizzled old grey haired men to about a half dozen or so kids around 10 to 12 years old, every age group was represented.
One of those kids was young Flynn, who was standing there in the front row with his Dad at his sixth Machine Head show. Wonder were that name came from? Phil Demmel even took the time to shake his hand and give him a guitar pick. A few other young fans had crawled into the Y of the balcony support beams to get a better vantage point.
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The sold out crowd was treated to a sweltering 19 song set of Machine Head classics, as well as choice cuts like “Now We Die,” “Beneath the Silt,” “Killers & Kings,” “Sail Into the Black” and “Game Over” from Bloodstones & Diamonds.
As you can well imagine, tracks like “Imperium,” “Locust,” “Ten Ton Hammer,” “Bulldozer,” “Davidian” and “Halo” shook the building to it’s very core, but it was more surreal moments like Robb Flynn standing center stage shrouded in spotlights during the acoustic parts of “Darkness Within” that resonated loudest with fans.
Like always, Robb Flynn and guitarist Phil Demmel are in top form and the rhythm section of drummer Dave McClain and new bassist Jared MacEachern, who replaced longtime bassist Adam Duce, absolutely crushed it. In fact, there was times that MacEachern looked a little like a young Jason Newsted as he thrashed about the stage.
Another highlight was the Declaration at the half way point of the show. Although they are by no means a Christian band, by the time the show was over, Reverend Flynn had turned it into a life altering puritanical experience fans would never forget. If the show hits your town, it is of the utmost importance that you attend.