Machine Head, O2 Academy, Birmingham - review with pictures
In a packed and rather warm O2 Academy in Birmingham, scores of metalheads were treated to an evening where their minds and bodies were blasted by Oakland’s finest quartet, Machine Head.
Coming on at 8pm to strains of Ozzy’s Diary of a Mad Man, they opened what was a wonderful evening of metal with 2003 number Imperium.
And they put many of today’s groups to shame with a stellar two-and-a-half-hour set.
Lead singer, Flying V wielding Robb Flynn, growled, swooped and sang his was way through songs including Volatile, Now We Die and Beautiful Mourning - and had the crowd eating out of his hand.
The mosh pit was in full effect throughout, with crowd surfers appearing and disappearing at regular intervals.
“This feels like the UK, the UK we need; you are the crazy rowdy crowd we need right now,” said Robb.
“Every time we come here the energy goes up and up and up.
“We need to stand on this stage because it’s the only thing that makes sense.
“We are all strangers here tonight but this heavy, crazy music brings us together and makes us feel alive”.
After a guitar solo from Phil Demmel, the set continued with title track of the band’s new ninth studio album Catharsis, before shuffling through the extensive Machine Head catalogue from old, with Ten Ton Hammer through to stand alone 2016 single Is There Anybody Out There?
The crowd and the band continued to be full of energy for each and every song.
The powerhouse of Dave McClain on drums kept the pace going through the powerful Beyond The Pale and into his solo. Ably assisted by Jared Macechern on bass, the pair provided the rhythmic backbone to the band’s hefty set.
The tempo remained unrelenting as the gig neared two hours in, at which point they left the stage for a quick break before coming back with a blistering encore to the evening culminating with Aesthetics Of Hate, Game Over, Block and Halo.
A band that does exactly what it says on the tin and - as Robb Flynn put it - “there is definitely a vibe in Birmingham”.
I bet the foundations of the Academy are still shaking now.
Review and pictures by Andy Shaw