Band: Machine Head

Venue: Newcastle University Students Union, Newcastle

Date: 2 August 2014



Machine Head have seen their credentials as one of metal’s biggest bands soar over recent years through a succession of stunning studio releases and having toured with the likes of Metallica and Slipknot.  So, imagine my surprise when the California metallers announced that they were to embark on several small intimate UK tour dates this year.  Very few tickets were available and they sold out almost immediately after the announcement was made, making it the hottest ticket in town.  Seeing Machine Head back at Newcastle University brought back fond memories as I first saw them live at the same place on November 29th 2004 during the ‘Through the Ashes of Empires’ tour. 


The tiny underground venue was crammed to absolute capacity and the atmosphere was electric with die-hard fans screaming for the band to begin.  They did not have to wait long as the PA starting blasting Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary of a Madman’, which was the queue for Machine Head to hit the stage.  Opening with ‘Imperium’ sent the audience into an immediate frenzy with bodies slamming and jumping everywhere.  Kicking things up a gear, they quickly blasted through ‘Beautiful Mourning’, ‘Locust’, ‘The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears’ and ‘Ten Ton Hammer’ before temporarily slowing things down with ‘Darkness Within’.  Vocalist/guitarist Rob Flynn took the time to address the fans and thanked them all for their support over the past twenty years and seemed generally overwhelmed by how loud such few people could be.  ‘Bulldozer’ got things back up to speed and it was at this point the audience just seemed to be getting more and more out of control (just how a metal gig should be).  With a new album on the way, fresh material was played in the form of ‘Killers and Kings’ before the mighty ‘Davidian’ brought the house down.  For the encore, a tribute to a lost metal brother was made before the brutal ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ incited some extreme moshing.  Fittingly, the evening came to a close with ‘Halo’, which is my personal favourite Machine Head track.  


The entire show was brutal from start to finish and was by far one of the best gigs that I have ever been to.  Machine Head truly are masters of their craft and did not need a huge stage show to sell themselves as their music really does the talking.  The set was spectacular and the intimacy of the gig only heightened the atmosphere shared amongst the handful of people attending.  It was just one of those shows that I will certainly cherish for a long time.


Review by: Rob Herald




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