Black masses, congregate! The wolves are back, so come bare witness to Sweden’s unmerciful and …
Eatons Hill, Brisbane
18 July, 2018
Machine Head are back on Australian soil, touring their recently released album Catharsis, in the latest instalment of their extremely popular An Evening With Machine Head tours.
An Evening With Machine Head. It’s a headline that draws all sorts of attention and only a handful of bands can command the respect that goes with such a seemingly self-indulgent view. But Machine Head, a band that has been around for almost three decades, is more than worthy of that respect and definitely have the confidence that lets them put on a show that features them, and only them.
Twenty-seven years boasts a long and varied career and the Bay Area metal giants have helped shape various sub-genres in the metal world. Over this time they have had plenty of hits, and sure, the odd miss as well, but it’s the hits that keep the fans piling into venues around the world to see them play and tonight in Brisbane is no exception.
Doors open almost an hour ahead of the band hitting the stage, which gives the growing number of punters plenty of time to stake their claim on prime barrier spots or to find a good vantage point near the bar, and when the first notes of Imperium strike out around the Ballroom, the energy in the room rises substantially as the mosh pit gets moving and Machine Head storm the stage.
Machine Head aren’t the young men that they used to be but for the first hour of their set they tear through their tracks like they are possessed.
Robb Flynn loves to banter with the crowd, and playing a three hour set affords him the luxury of being able to really interact with the punters, to share a joke or some insight ahead of the next track. And his big smile is infectious as the fans eat up every word amidst clamouring for favourite tracks and the ever-present chant of ‘Machine Fucking Head’.
The banter doesn’t stop with him either. While the rest of the band exit the stage for a quick breather after Clenching The Fists of Dissent, guitarist Phil Demmel lets out a ‘woo!’ into every mic on stage, which provokes the crowd to scream back at him as he whips into a lengthy guitar solo, shredding away for a few minutes as the crowd just stares and whoops at him, entranced by the speed of fingers on the fretboard.
Things quiet down for a minute as Flynn comes back to the front of stage, and armed with his acoustic guitar, the whole crowd breathes with anticipation of the song to come next, the acoustically driven Darkness Within.
After the sing-a-long dies down and everyone has caught their breath, Machine Head kick things up another notch and launch into the remaining two hours of their set with ferocity.
Although the tour is in support of their new album Catharsis, playing a three hour set gives the band plenty to pick and choose from when putting together a set list. Classic fan favourites like Ten Ton Hammer, Davidian and Bulldozer, get as much crowd participation as newer tracks such as Triple Beam and Kaleidoscope and the mosh doesn’t stop all night.
The band are, after many years of playing together, as tight as you would expect and even during a mammoth set, don’t show their age. Soundwise, the Ballroom at Eatons Hill is meaty and punchy up the front, but you’re slightly let down towards the back of the room as it sounds thinner and flatter. The crowd don’t seem to notice though as they lap up every minute.
As the show winds down and finishes with Halo, the one song most punters have been clamouring for all night, it’s easy to see why Machine Head are well loved by their fans and why they have stayed at the top of their game for all these years. Their energy and absolute passion for their craft does not diminish throughout the night and they hold that right up until the very last note dies out, and the very last photo is taken of the crowd and the band.
Maybe Machine Head are actually geniuses with this way of performing. An Evening with them, and only them, gives their fans exactly what they want. A night with a favourite band and an evening to remember.
Catch Machine Head at the following remaining dates:
Friday 20th July – Enmore Theatre – Sydney
Saturday 21st July – Forum Theatre – Melbourne
Tuesday 24th July – Astor Theatre – Perth