Machine Head

Metalcamp - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

With our own late arrival, it seemed only too soon that the main act of day one at Metalcamp, the American post-thrashers Machine Head, arrived on stage. Judging from main man Robb Flynn, the band was a bit off time-ways though, but more on that later on...

“Open up the dance-floor, this is your time Slovenia!”
- Robb Flynn (vocals/guitar)

Even though the crowd was oddly smaller now than it had been a while ago for Testament, Machine Head surely had some enthusiastic fans in front of them as they, as I have come to understand it, entered a Slovenian stage for the first time in their 20 year long career. Not surprising then, that people were happy to finally see them!
The show itself began with some pre-recorded choir singing, announcing that the first song up for the evening would be I Am Hell (Sonata In C#), the opener of Machine Head’s latest album, Unto The Locust.
Straight from the get go, the crowd was displaying a wild moshing frenzy and loads of arms were held high up in the air, and as the band then followed up with the classic Old, well, I don’t need to tell you that things didn’t exactly take a downwards turn, now did it? I would go as far as saying that Machine Head only got true love from the Slovenian crowd here at Metalcamp!
Clearly being able to take it in and appreciate it, the band then turned this onslaught of feelings and sent them right back at the crowd, giving us one hell of a lively performance with a lot of power and conviction. Just the way we like the band the best!
There was one thing bothering Mr. Flynn this evening though, as we would soon learn...

“Fuck your camera-phones and get your metal hands in the air!”
- Flynn (vocals/guitar)

As negative as this comment may be, the man certainly had a point. A lot of the raised hands were holding camera phones, and even though it didn’t exactly sound as though he was worried about copyrights when he said it, it does take the feeling of being in the moment away from the one concentrating more on filming than the actual show, and it is certainly an annoyance to anyone behind such a person who actually tries to see the show at the time it’s being played out. But enough of that little rant, and back to the show...
Already as short a way into the set as Imperium, Machine Head got a healthy dose of fists in the air and a loud chanting, or should I say shouting, of “hey” laying down the pulse of the song, and later on in the very same song, a massive circle pit took form, something that would go away but re-emerge throughout the show.
The crowd wasn’t the only ones being active though, as I’ve mentioned slightly already. Flynn and Phil Demmel were oftentimes playing and posing up against each other, and when he couldn’t come along on the posing game (please remember that we here at Metalmoments are big fans of posing at shows, it helps the performance along tremendously), Adam Duce helped tune Flynn’s guitar when it was needed. Mostly he to engaged in wild headbanging though, it wasn’t as if he was following the frontman around all the time...

Well, all of this sounds just peachy doesn’t it? Well, it was, and if it hadn’t been for one hiccup (done twice actually) on Flynn’s part, this is what would have been remembered of the show as well.
Sadly, or funnily if that’s your taste (personally I go a bit in both directions), Robb Flynn had to go and pull a real life Spinal Tap stunt! Remember what I hinted at in the beginning? Well, here it comes...
Not only once, but twice ladies and gentlemen, twice at different times in the same show, he got all emotional and thankful to the audience for sticking with Machine Head even though everyone had to be so tired and out of energy here at the last day of the five days of music this festival had to offer! The last day!
Why didn’t anyone cut in and tell the man that Machine Head was the opening act and not the grand finale?!
Why, even when the audience started laughing and booing at his emotional speech, he only got a bit confused for a short time, considering if it was only the fourth, or maybe even the third day, but quickly reached the conclusion that this was in fact the final day, and Machine Head was without a doubt the main act not only of the day (well, that part was true) but also the main act of the entire festival!
Oh deary, deary...
You can see how it was impossible to recover to a state of taking him serious after this blunder, and I was only left wondering why on earth no one in his crew had pulled him to the side after the first miss and corrected him, so that he didn’t have to go through the embarrassment twice!

Oh well, c’est la vie.
Machine Head did bring a memorably kick ass 1st show to Slovenia, accentuated by the fact that it was nearly impossible to drive Flynn off the stage afterwards as he wanted to stay and sing with us.
It was only sad that this memory should be stained by the frontman’s inability to check the calendar...

Setlist (incomplete):

I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)
Beautiful Mourning
Aesthetics Of Hate
Darkness Within
Ten Ton Hammer

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