When Machine Head come to town, it’s always a reason to celebrate. Their first full UK tour in three years saw them return to London for the first time since The Eighth Plague Tour saw them play their biggest UK gig to date at Wembley Arena alongside Bring Me The Horizon and Devildriver. This time around in the somewhat cosier confines of Camden Town’s Roundhouse, a couple of members of the Rock Sins team were present for the first of two Machine Head London shows which marked the beginning of this tour. So, without anything further, on with the show….
First up were the UK’s very own Heart Of A Coward (8), who were sadly only granted enough time for a four song set pretty much as soon as the doors opened. To their credit, this didn’t put them off at all and Jamie Graham did a good job of getting those who were inside early enough to see their set engaged with proceedings. A punishing rendition of Deadweight (complete with large amounts of audience participation in the “I Don’t Give A Fuck” breakdown) saw an all too short performance come to an end on a high.
Indeed, in this reviewers opinion Heart Of A Coward should have occupied the main support slot filled by Darkest Hour (6), who were of course only in that position themselves after Devil You Know dropped off the tour. Darkest Hour gave a perfectly competent performance without managing to be particularly memorable, though the closing one-two punch of The Sadist Nation and With A Thousand Words To Say But One was enjoyable, but they seem to lack enough strong material to push on from their current level.
Just in case anyone was in ANY doubt at all, the opening strains of Imperium remind everyone present that tonight truly is only about one band and that is Machine Fuckin’ Head (9) who shot out of the traps with a faultless rendition of arguably what is still their greatest song. The floor of the Roundhouse was an absolute blur with bodies flying everywhere and that continued with a sprint through Beautiful Mourning and the first airing of new material with Now We Die (which is far more impressive in the flesh).
The first of several rarities to get an airing in tonight’s setlist was another prime cut from Through The Ashes Of Empires in the shape of Bite The Bullet, alongside more traditional fare like Locust and Ten Ton Hammer really meant this was a performance spanning the full twenty years of Machine Head (something that Robb alluded to during his pre-Darkness Within monologue which went on a little too long for many’s taste). Bulldozer was another welcome surprise, and when Davidian is wheeled out barely after 10 O’Clock in a Machine Head set you know there’s some good things coming.
What did occur was nothing short of absolutely phenomenal. A spine tingling rendition of Descend The Shades Of Night (being played live for the first time in almost five years) leading straight into Supercharger is something no one would have predicted without a seriously good crystal ball. The obligatory Aesthetics Of Hate ignited the crowd as only that song can before the wonderful “Machine Head does pop punk” (copyright my learned colleague James Halstead) Game Over kept things flowing.
At this point we were expecting the obligatory Halo to finish things off but instead Robb talked about the twentieth anniversary of Machine Head and of Burn My Eyes and unleashed an audible nuclear bomb in the shape of Block. It’s hard to know what hit the floor faster, the collective jaws of everyone in the room or the pile up of bodies in the pit. Block, unsurprisingly was magnificent and would’ve been an incredibly fitting ending, but then as the icing on the cherry on the top of the very heavy metal cake Halo brought things to a close in epic fashion.
Machine Head Setlist – Camden Town Roundhouse December 6th 2014
(Diary Of A Madman by Ozzy Osbourne – PA)
Now We Die
Bite the Bullet
The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears
Ten Ton Hammer
In Comes the Flood
Killers & Kings
Descend the Shades of Night
Aesthetics of Hate
All in all, a wonderful evening. Machine Head once again proved why they are one of the finest live metal bands on the planet. A stupendous performance (new bassist Jared Maceachern slotted in seamlessly) and excellent sound combined with their decision to throw in a few unexpected favourites into the setlist means this show had all the qualities required to live long in the memory for a very long time indeed. If you have the opportunity to see this tour before it finishes, we can only implore you to do so, we doubt very much you will be disappointed.