Machine Head

Vega, Copenhagen - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Disclaimer: If the photos above look old, it’s because they are. Machine Head didn’t allow anyone (professional) to photograph their show, and so we’ve chosen to give you a sample of older archive photos of ours, which haven’t been shown here before.
We would have loved to bring you something new, but under the circumstances, we hope you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane instead.

“You’re at a Machine Head concert, you can do whatever the fuck you want!”
- Robb Flynn (vocals/guitar)

Machine Head was booked for the large hall of Vega, they were the only band booked, no support, and the place was nearly sold out. There was no doubt as to whom people had come out for, and if there were, it would quickly be disintegrated by the loud “Machine fucking Head” chant filling the room, and the equally loud stomping on the floor!
A short clip of Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary Of A Madman announced the band’s coming was nigh, and soon enough they stood before us - Robb FLynn, Dave McClain, Phil Demmel, and Jared MacEachern. Well, McClain sat of course, but you get the general idea.
By way of making me feel old, they opened the show with what I would consider one of my new era Machine Head favourites, Imperium. Then it hit me that this song is 15 years old, and thus closer to the beginning of the band, than its present state. Gray hairs are a’ growing…

“Copenhagen, everybody get your hands in the air and clap along to the drums of Dave McClain!”
- Flynn (vocals/guitar)

Standing there feeling old, I was sad to hear they didn’t actually play Old. What they did was to play an impressive 3+ hour show, with songs taken from all over the place, although certainly most represented was the latest album, Catharsis.
And then there were the solos. Both Demmel and McClain got one, Demmel going first. A solo, or as we’d like to call it - come see my effect-board. On a positive note, Demmel incorporated a bit of audience interaction which held up fine, but musically, it was a bit of a snooze.
Or so we thought, but then (later) it was McClain’s turn...Or as we’d like to call - come zzz snore… By ye Gods, this was probably the biggest waste of concert time I’ve ever beheld! Now, drums solo’s generally don’t tickle my fancy, but there are a few who can pull it off, either by way of extraordinary skill or great performance value. Or both. McClain displayed neither. Far, far from it, to be honest. There was absolutely no showing off in his playing, no interesting rhythms or melodies, no special drums or cymbals for added audio flavour - nothing. Just bang bang bang on this drum, moving on to bang bang bang on the next drum, and so on and so forth.
Luckily, they weren’t overly long, I’d estimate about three-four minutes a piece, and then we were back to the whole band leveling the place with their aggressive tunes.

“We got any beer drinkers in Copenhagen on a Tuesday night in Copenhagen? Get those beers in the air!”
- Flynn (vocals/guitar)

Despite the solos being what they were, and the run-time of the show being so vastly superior to what we’re used to, time seemed to fly by, and the show as a whole didn’t feel all that long. And more importantly, it didn’t outlast its welcome.
Performance ways, the band wasn’t exactly pushing itself in the beginning - the music was wild enough, but the players mostly just hung out, trusting the sound to do its work.
That didn’t stop the audience from going, pardon my French, absolutely ape-shit though! I’ve already told you about the massive welcome the band got, and the action didn’t exactly wind down when the music started - quite the contrary. Already in Imperium, people were jumping, and after a quick request from Flynn’s side, a big circlepit opened up the floor. Later, no request would be needed…
The positive response seemed to wake the band up. First it was MacEachern, who loosened up and began headbanging in Kaleidoscope (which worked much better without that annoying video), and then Demmel got into a good run of interacting with the crowd before him, leaning out as far as he could to get close to them. Flynn gave a sincere sounding thanks for the good response, especially that given at the start of Clenching The Fists Of Dissent, saying this was unlike anything they had tried before. Overall the band clearly got more and more invested in the show as well, and it all ended up being a superb evening. But the crowd one this round, no doubt about it.


Diary Of A Madman (Ozzy Osbourne snippet)
Now We Die
Beautiful Mourning
The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears
Clenching The Fists Of Dissent
Solo (Phil Demmel)
Darkness Within
From This Day
Ten Ton Hammer
Is There Anybody Out There?
Beyond The Pale
Solo (Dave McClain)
Killers & Kings
Behind A Mask
A Nation On Fire
Triple Beam
Aesthetics Of Hate
Game Over
Blood For Blood

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