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Machine Head -
05 Jan 2012
Entering Manchester Central, sadly as Devil Driver was wrapping up their set, you could feel the buzz contained in the venue. Burley metal heads skipping and grinning their way towards the stage summed up the mood, everyone was excited for what they knew was going to be a truly great gig.
When I learnt that Bring me the Horizon were supporting on this tour, I was as shocked as I imagine most fans were. Not knowing so much from the band I gave them the benefit of the doubt and was even intrigued to hear one or two tracks.
The set kicked off and in all honesty I was less than impressed. Studio tracks I’ve heard have been easy on the ears, and although the sound wasn’t great (which could be down to crew rather than performance), it was the arrogance of the band which narked me the most. Initially I was going to simply write up the headlining set, however, I thought it was worth mentioning just how many people in one room can quickly become p*ssed off with a relatively young band.
Opening for a band with such a loyal fan base as Machine Head is always going to receive some ‘mocking’, and as always certain individuals may have pushed boundaries by throwing two bottles rather than only one, however being a British lad himself and certainly I assumed having attended and played his fair share of gigs, lead vocalist Oliver Sykes should have known better than to antagonise the crowd.
Repeated comments centred on how much money they (the band) were making from the tour was crass and I can only imagine sad for the fans that was interested in seeing them play. I’ve heard really positive things said about Bring me the Horizon in the past, and would probably still be interested to see what performance they put on when they haven’t appeared to crack under intimidation, but sadly on first impressions, they failed to wow myself or my friends on this occasion.
Finally, the lights dimmed, the backdrop lifted and ‘I am Hell (Sonata in C#)’ ripped through the Manchester crowd as Machine Head finally donned the stage.
Sounding as full and raw as hoped for, Robb and the rest of the band performed a nicely placed set comprising tracks from all seven albums. I personally loved ‘Unto the Locust’ as an album, which for me combined some quite relaxed melodic tracks with others that almost felt like they were busting the seams with pure power. It was this exact feeling that filled Manchester Central!
Following on with more new tracks from ‘Unto the Locust’ ‘Be Still and Know’, and treated to some older material with a growling rendition of ‘Imperium’ from 2007 release ‘Through the Ashes of Empires’, the crowd – by this point already wet with sweat and anticipation- blew their lids as the band ripped out a loud and proud ‘Beautiful Mourning’ from Machine Heads previous album ‘The Blackening’.
Robb Flynn only coaxed the crowd to feed further from his hand by chatting to the crowd between songs. The band has ended tours in Manchester in the past, and of course Manchester wasn’t going to let them leave without showing them a good time...was we!
Diving right back to 1999 and ‘The Burning Red’ album, ‘The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears’ was screamed by everyone in the crowd, before snapping us back to current tracks ‘Locust’ and ‘This is the End’. ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ and ‘Old’ were thundered through before once more being treated to another new track ‘Darkness Within’ and sent straight back to older albums with a frightening performance of ‘Bulldozer’ from the album ‘Supercharger’ and ‘Ten Ton Hammer’.
Flynn shared a poignant moment with the crowd concerning the death of guitarist’s (Phil Demmel) father, which was met with huge applause and appreciation. The crowd hung off every word to leave Flynn’s mouth, yet despite this he kept it brief and quickly dove back into the set, for what we was all there for.
A slide show from the backdrop began to play and the last song of the set ‘who we are’ played out to the crowd, who by this point were going wild, with heads that could be seen banging right to the back walls of the room.
An encore was inevitable. ‘Halo’ followed by ‘Davidian’ held the crowd until the last chord was struck. Applause sounded and Flynn once again thanked the crowd and promptly brought the crew onstage having photos took of the venue with each and every fan trying to hold their horns to the sky in hope that they might be seen.
Machine Head proved once again that not only do they still have the ability to bring a crowd to its very knees with a sound that can only be described as crushing, but they still are as much of a fans band as they ever have been.
Let’s hope they return soon!
Review by Charlotte