Robb Flynn and co prove they can go the distance
TOWARDS THE END
of a three-hour-plus set, frontman Robb Flynn addresses the crowd to explain his band’s decision to play such a mammoth set. “We needed to do something else,” he begins. “We didn’t know if it would work, but we love it! But it doesn’t matter how much we enjoy it, it’s how much you enjoy it! So, let me ask you, have you enjoyed an evening with Machine Head?” The roar of the sold-out Roundhouse is proof that those in attendance certainly do approve, and that sometimes a leap of faith can play dividends.
Machine Head’s recent album, Catharsis, may be divisive, and surely no one would argue it’s them at their very best, but in the live environment Machine Head have rarely, if ever, failed to deliver. That being said, how many bands in our scene could really fill an entire evening of all-killer, no-filler heavy metal? It’s not many, and that’s the challenge that Machine Head face in this format. It’s a more than promising start when they can waltz on and plough straight through classics like Imperium, Beautiful Mourning and The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears within the first five songs. Robb is in typically bullish and rabble-rousing form, egging the throng forward and hammering seven bells out of his guitar as he does so and the sound inside the venue is crystal clear, with Dave McClain’s drums sounding especially huge as they pound and groove in all the right places.
Obviously with so much in the set it can’t all be perfect. A fairly ho-hum guitar solo section from Phil Demmel could have been dispensed with. Also, while people may have a lot of nostalgic affinity with material from The Burning Red, From This Day really plods in 2018, and although there is a quirky charm to the flashing police lights and overblown drama, Triple Beam doesn’t really inspire. These are minor quibbles, though, when you get every facet of Machine Head’s career during one set: the power of Old, the spittle of Aesthetics Of Hate, the weight of Ten Ton Hammer and the passion and beauty of the show-stealing Darkness Within. The latter follows a passionate speech from Robb on the anniversary of the death of Chris Cornell about the elation and dedication music can inspire that raises the hairs on the back of every neck in the building. So, to answer your question, Robb: yes, as usual, we had a bloody brilliant time with
Machine Head this evening.
Robb – and everyone else in the room – embraces the catharsis Phil Demmel really
puts his back into his work
Party time at the Roundhouse!