California’s Machine Head, unbelievably close to their 30th anniversary, have long had the type of live show reputation that even live music all-stars ACDC might be jealous of. Known for their turned-up-to-eleven volume, manic like intensity, and wild crowd devotion, the Head’s have become synonymise with an almost guaranteed exceptional live show and value for money.
Choosing to tour solo under the moniker of ‘an evening with Machine Head’, it feels like the band are pushing their risk levels to their outer limits. With no support surely comes the added pressure that the whole show, and the audience’s enjoyment, rests on the performance of your band.
What we get tonight is not quiet Dracula and blood, but there is something compelling about seeing the Heads on World Goth day. Loud as hell, dressed head to toe in black and (quiet possibly) happy to live outside of sunlight, the Heads bring the volume and heaviness of hell to the metal audience. Their risk of a Springsteen esque, almost three hour, set absolutely pays off on a North East audience which, let’s face it, has been starved of decent metal and is almost obsessive in their air guitaring and fist pounding to every riff and drum pound. When you see grown men pounding the floor to the beat of the music you know that this is a show which has done all, and more, than it set out to do.
Full, Academy One in radius, circle pits allow the audience to release some of the emotional energy which comes from the Heads style of playing. Encouraging from the main stage Robb Flynn, provides high support to the high challenge of maintaining stamina for the full three hours. Both band and audience meet this challenge brilliantly particularly in set highlights ‘Davidian’ and ‘Bulldozer’.
Happy goth day, not that this is really goth, but you take the point I’m sure.