An evening with Machine Head. I’ve been anticipating this date for months, as one of my favourite bands returns to Adelaide to play HQ. The huge stage has been transformed with an impressive looking asylum theme, crowned with a towering drum riser. Moments after entering the venue the lights dim and the crowd roars as the unmistakable notes of Imperium chime through the speakers…
Taking the stage front man Robb Flynn acknowledges his crowd before the band launch into their set at breakneck speed. Following Imperium, new track Volatile gets an early run, before Now We Die, Beautiful Morning and The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears from 1999’s album The Burning Red.
Five tracks from five albums, that’s an impressive start and what tonight is all about.
The premise of “An evening with Machine Head“ sounds simple enough on paper. A three hour metal show, from one band. No support acts, no breaks or intervals. Instead, Machine Head playing a selection from their extensive back catalogue now spanning nine albums over twenty four years and counting. It’s a monumental undertaking, playing night after night for months at a time, and a testament to the bands skill and endurance. When the band first announced this new tour format four years ago many people thought it a risky one. But as history has shown, Machine Head are a band that backs itself, often with brilliant results.
The 2015 tour saw them sell out their entire Australian tour as well as dates across the USA and Europe, and break away from the constraints of shared tours and shorter set times. With many of their biggest tracks running well in excess of six minutes, it allowed them to include more songs, and play the shows their fans want to see. With the release of their latest album Catharsis in January of this year, the band again announced a string of tours across the globe repeating the same format. 2018 has seen them play sold out shows across the US and Europe before landing in Australia.
Tonight Machine Head are on fire. As they burn through tracks Kaleidoscope, Darkness Within, Catharsis and From This Day it’s clear for all to see that the band are enjoying themselves playing these shows. Guitarist Phil Demmel and bassist Jared MacEachern are all smiles between hair whips and constantly interact with the crowd. Drummer Dave McClain gives a phenomenal performance, including a blistering drum solo, and Robb Flynn voice is on point as he directs the show with hit after hit.
As the show progresses older material surfaces, with classics Ten Ton Hammer, Davidian and None But My Own getting a run much to the crowds approval. Beyond The Pale, Bulldozer, Unto The Locust and Killers and Kings are outstanding, and the band have now been playing well in excess of two hours.
Somehow finding another gear, Machine Head level up and storm home with an insane performance of crowd favourite Aesthetics Of Hate, followed by Game Over and classic Old. After almost three hours, Robb Flynn regretfully announces that “all good things must come to a close” and they finish the show with a brilliant performance of anthem Halo.
As the crowd begins to disperse I see many smiling faces, in awe of the show we have just witnessed, having shared an evening with Machine Head. These are the shows we live for. This is the music we love. This is our Catharsis.
Live Review By Samuel Phillips
Be sure to catch Machine Head on their remaining tour dates…