“Its a Saturday night in London!” booms Robb Flynn our compare for the evening, following the release of what could well be one of the years most controversial albums, Machine Head have cemented their place as a pillar in the upheaval of Metal. A band that understands their ideologies and aren’t afraid to shake things up. Answering to no one, the band have been working their way through a tour that isn’t your standard run of the mill performance. Going against the grain the public are instead invited to An Evening With Machine Head, a three hour compendium consisting of deep cuts, classics and new bangers throughout the band’s set. I was lucky enough to be able to see the band’s phenomenal performance at their second night at London’s Roundhouse.
Creating a veritable smorgasbord of material for the average Machine Head fan, “Imperium” is tossed straight out of the gates as its iconic pneumatic riff perforates The Roundhouse immediately igniting what will be somewhat of a marathon pit session. Followed by the appropriately titled “Volatile” the reactions to Catharsis opener are fervent from the word go. Positively embodying the ethos of The Roundhouse, the band’s backdrop brings an oxymoronic sense of intimacy despite their enormous stature making the likes of acoustic number “Darkness Within” oddly relatable as Flynn exorcises Camden’s demons.
With material that spans from the Bloodstone and Diamonds favourite of “Now We Die“, alongside solos from both Phil Demmel and Dave McClain thrown in, to the nineties throwback of “Ten Ton Hammer” there isn’t an inch of The Roundhouse here that isn’t well and truly invested in every second of tonight’s performance. Anyone acquainted with Machine Head will know that the pit is not for the faint of heart but the maelstrom that is conjured up following Flynn’s bellows of “Spread out motherfuckers!” on Thrash Metal anthem “Killers and Kings” is a sight to behold. Giving a very justified pat on the back to crowd control officer Steve, who attended Machine Head’s very first performance. As chants of “Steve! Steve! Steve!” move through the air its precisely this sense of brotherhood that encompass Machine Head’s ethos of acceptance that has allowed them go to the coveted route of An Evening With.
For anyone doubting the power of Catharsis tonight however “Triple Beam” absolutely floors the audience as the spoken word aggression is barrelled out from Flynn in an incredible dramatic dynamic but its the triumphant finale of “Halo” and an explosion of confetti that brings the night to a triumphant close and amid the sweat, beer and tears a sense of bliss envelopes The Roundhouse as Machine Head can confidently assert themselves as not only one of the premiere live acts today but Modern Metal’s new torchbearers.