Friday, January 30, 2015

Machine Head @ Baltimore Soundstage 1/28/2015

I went to see An Evening with Machine Head (~$30) at the Baltimore Soundstage last night. It was an interesting turn of events and MH ended up canceling their super tour with Epica, Children of Bodom, among others, but now have returned with the promise of a 2 hr + setlist with old and new songs alike! Needless to say, I was quite enticed, even though I am not the biggest MH fan. I did see a lot of friends there- Ariel and James, Raul, Bobbie, Scott, and maybe a couple others.

As I got there, I met up with Ariel, James, and Raul and we walked over to the venue for a short wait in line to get in. as we entered the late starting show (9:30 was to be showtime!), we saw that it was chock full of Machine Heads, milling about a filling up the bar. Probably about 3/4 of the way full? maybe a bit more, of the 2000 people venue.


The merchandise was a bit overpriced ($30 shirts, $50 hoodies, $15 bandanas. and a $500 flying V custom MH guitar), but the deluxe version of "Bloodstones and Diamonds" was only $16 (kind of lame no bonus tracks and it's just a big book or something tho). There was a pretty decent shirt selection playing on the playing card theme for the most part, however.

Originally the showtime was to be 9PM, but apparently they changed it to be 9:30- 12 (Machine Head ended up stopping around 11:37).  I will say in the day and age of 1 hr "headliners" (see 2014 for a ton of these, from Adrenaline Mob  to Fozzy and others), a (slightly) over 2 hour setlist was a real treat, even if you're not that big a Machine Head fan (but if you're not a fan at all you'd not even be at the show).

The PA started playing Ozzy's "Diary of a Madman" close to 9:30 and then after that, Robb Flynn and company came out on stage. There were elements of the crowd chanting the rather juvenile "MACHINE FUCKING HEAD," which I always thought was a bit asinine. Thankfully they only got a few out before the opening to "Imperium" kicked things off right! From those first notes to the last strains of "Halo," it was basically all Killer(s and kings) and no filler! I think I only missed "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears" from their setlist choices. I was surprised by how many people were digging their couple of nu metal moments (just check out the video for "From This Day" for an idea) that made me cringe a bit. Apart from these "Korn moments" (which sounded way better live BTW), their set was pretty solid.

People were going ape during most songs- mosh pits, circle pits (great for the circle pit- obsessed Robb, who demanded them before about 2/3 of the songs), jumping, headbanging, and of course tons of horns and fists pumping. I stayed away from the pit, but people were bouncing back and forth, fueled by alcohol in many cases! Thankfully I wasn't crushed by anyone by standing in the back.

It was also of note that they picked at least one song from each album- which is pretty difficult to do, I think Children of Bodom is the only other band I recall doing something similar, one of the last times I saw them. It is nice to have a retrospective, a little taste of all albums! I enjoyed the selection overall, and I think we got all the standards ("Davidian", "Bulldozer"), and even some deep cuts ("Bite the Bullet"), old and new stuff!

Guitarist Phil Demmel was shredding on his Randy Rhoads custom flying V (with polka dots), and Robb was wearing 2 guitars at one point. Dave McClain towered over everyone on the drums, and (newish) bassist Jared MacEachern was pointed out at least 2 or 3 times specifically by Robb. Everyone sounded great, didn't really hear anything off at all. I don't know how people were not wearing earplugs as this was one of the loudest shows at Soundstage I've been to!

Overall, it was a pretty solid night of HEAVY METAL, and another great show with very healthy attendance! Metal seems to be alive and well in Virginia and Maryland so far this year!

Machine Head (9:30-11:37)

  • Imperium 
  • Beautiful Mourning 
  • Now We Die 
  • Bite the Bullet 
  • Locust 
  • From This Day 
  • Ten Ton Hammer 
  • This Is the End 
  • Darkness Within 
  • Declaration  (tape)
  • Bulldozer 
  • Killers & Kings 
  • Davidian 
  • Sail Into the Black 
  • Now I Lay Thee Down 
  • Aesthetics of Hate 
  • Game Over 
  • Old 
  • Halo