Sometimes you just know that a gig is going to be special. Machine Head deciding they were going to go on a UK club tour, was very much one of those occasions. This is a band that on recent trips to the UK have played Wembley Arena and headlined Bloodstock. Now they are crammed into a venue which bands half their size could easily fill.
Unsurprisingly tickets to get into the Liquid Rooms last night were like gold dust. Even less surprising is that it was fucking boiling in there. By the time the gig finished, at the ridiculously early time of 10 o’clock one of the big disadvantages of a club tour, I was more sweat than man. But before we get to all of that, Hostile kick us off. With Machine Heads equipment taking up most of the stage this five piece do look a bit cramped, but their groove filled metal, reminiscent of bands like Lamb of God and Devildriver, slowly begins to win over the crowd. A quick run through Judas Priest staples “Painkiller” and “This is the Law” seals the deal.
Of course it doesn’t really matter who supports on this tour, as everyone is here for one reason and as the chants of ‘Machine fucking Head’ ring round the building it is pretty clear what that is and damn do they deliver. From the opening of “Imperium” all the way through to “Halo”, Machine Head are on fire. This is them stripped back to the basics. There is a bit of slight light show but the pyro is gone and there are no small children proclaiming who they are. Instead we are all treated to a reminder of just how good this bands back catalogue is. “Beautiful Mourning” gets the first big sing along of the evening, before “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” incited chaos in a crowd that are very much up for the occasion.
New boy Jared MacEachern seems to have slipped in with ease and at least to my ear manages everything he has to tonight. Although if James Hetfield has ever been anywhere near his mum, he might have some questions to ask as there is a scary resemblance to Papa Het in his younger days. Rob Flynn and Phil Demmel just look like they are enjoying themselves and as they rip through tracks like “Davidian” you can see why. For all the slight disappointment that Unto the Locust may have been (although I should point out I gave it a very strong review when first hearing it and I still think if you cut out “This is Who We Are” it holds up a bit better) Machine Head are still a kick ass metal band and a night like this serves as a timely reminder of that.
There is a run through new track “Killers and Kings” and it sounds better live than any recording I’ve heard of it so far. However, tonight doesn’t seem to be about the future but more a celebration of what has come before and as Flynn dedicates “Aesthetics of Hate”, as he always will do, to our brother Dime there is a real feeling that this is a moment. As a scroll down will show I tend to avoid star ratings, as I think they are fucking stupid, but as a once off I am going to reinstate them for one day only because this was a truly perfect night.
10 out of 10