Machine Head could get no lower by the end of 2002. Fourteen months after the release of Supercharger (Roadrunner) the band was at their wit’s end seemed to be on a slide. Having the misfortune of releasing that album just three weeks after 9/11, touring well, but at a tough time in the business for a touring band, and undergoing a transition, they were definitely standing on a ledge, looking over an abyss at their futures. After delivering their Hellalive album in early 2003, they were without a label for the first time since they were signed in the early 1990s. As detailed in the Elegies DVD from 2005, the band hunkered wrote as a three-piece, later on getting some contributions from Robb Flynn’s Vio-Lence shredder pal Phil Demmel. Finally getting a release ready for Roadrunner in Europe and still without a US label, the band released Through The Ashes Of Empires on December 16th 2003 with little fanfare outside the fanbase. Continue reading
In the heart of Allston, MA (ok most visitors would just call it Boston) on one of the coldest nights of winter in January, Machine Head warmed up the Brighton Music Hall with an “Evening with” set. Now seeing a couple of “Evening with” shows, the show is always just the one band (no openers) and the band typically plays a greatest hit set. Of course, if you are Amon Amarth, then you would have played your brand new album from front to back, took a beer break, then played your greatest hits. Having said that, Machine Head did a great job of playing 17 of their greatest tracks across all of their albums in their 20 year history, all in a small window of time with a tight curfew. The small venue at BMH also allowed for a very intimate night, something most fans are not capable of getting from a Machine Head tour nowadays.
As I mentioned, the set list had a great variety of tracks across all of their albums in their discography. Not surprisingly, the most visited albums were the brand new Bloodstone & Diamonds (Nuclear Blast) as well as their masterpiece, The Blackening (Roadrunner). Both of these albums saw 4 tracks a piece such as ‘Game Over’, ‘Sail Into the Black’, and ‘Now We Die’ from the former and ‘Now I Lay Thee Down’, ‘Aesthetics of Hate’, and set closer ‘Halo’, from the latter. Burn My Eyes, Through the Ashes of Empires, and Unto the Locust only had 2 songs each including ‘Davidian’, ‘Imperium’, and ‘Locust’. I personally liked the choice to limit the tracks on Unto the Locust as I feel like Machine Head needed to ensure Blood & Diamonds was showcased as well as The Blackening. Regardless, the few songs selected from these albums I felt were well selected as they truly show any newer fan of Machine Head what these guys are all about. Rounding out the discography with one track from each is Supercharger, The Burning Red, and The More Things Change. Before you ask, yes, they played ‘From This Day’ and I felt like elementary school/middle school had just got out and I was on the bus listening to my beloved nu metal music. ‘Bulldozer’ and ‘Ten Ton Hammer’ were the other selections from the remaining albums as well. Overall, I really could not find a song to pick over any of the actual played songs (mainly because I do not see ‘Imaginal Cells’ being played live as it is an instrumental with samples over them).
So “An Evening with Machine Head” truly lived up to the hype and I am glad that I was able to go even with a nasty head cold and tired from the endless shoveling this winter has brought us here in New England. The crowd was great which was totally into the show from start to end with at least 10 separate “Machine Fucking Head” chants. Age varied greatly too as I saw some fans as young as maybe 17 or 18 and old as maybe late 50s! A show is almost always guaranteed to be a hit when there is an age range of about 40 years. As great as the set was, the live performance, and the fans in the crowd, nothing beat the absolute hilarity in watching fan after fan fall on their ass during circle pits. There were so many dropped beverages that people were slipping and sliding and falling all over the place! Fortunately no one received any real injuries and spent more time just laughing off the falls, hugging, and enjoying what was truly an amazing evening with Machine Head.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN