Concert Review – Machine Head – London, 3 Dec 11
Posted by WarpRider
It was a hungry crowd at London’s Wembley Arena on 3 Dec 2011. Metal is what they wanted and metal is what they got. Machine Head with special guests Darkest Hour, DevilDriver, and Bring Me The Horizon brought an old and new style of metal to the London audience. Some of it was highly appreciated and some of it wasn’t. I will get to that later. I was happy to be part of the experience, though my ear drums are paying for it today and probably for the next few days. It was one of the loudest shows I have experienced in the last several years.
Wembley Arena is a great place for a show. It is not so huge that you feel lost in the crowd. It is a big enough venue to allow for higher production value with the stage, but small enough that you can still feel more intimate with the band. The floor space was open to those who wanted to be part of the pit and there were seats for people like me who wanted an unobstructed view to watch Machine Head do what they do especially well…play live! Although Wembley is an arena, it’s not oversized as some mammoth venues like the O2-London. You can get a good view of the band from pretty much anywhere.
Darkest Hour hit the stage first and I would tell you all about it, but we missed it. We tried, but it’s a kind of long train ride from where we started and just missed them by about 10 minutes. I blame the London Overground (line) for making us sit and wait for 20 minutes before leaving Stratford Station. Sorry guys.
DevilDriver came up next and hit the stage full force. The opening track End of the Line kicked things off and kept the crowd moving in a large circular motion. I could tell the fans were hungry for some metal because they weren’t saving their energy for Machine Head. The circle pit was highly active. DevilDriver played bits and pieces from their discography such as Clouds Over California, I could Care Less, You Make Me Sick, and Dead To Rights. During their set, singer Dez Fafara gave a shout out for Darkest Hour…people clapped (cheered). He gave a shout out for Bring Me The Horizon….people booed. He asked again and people booed even louder. I don’t think I have ever seen that happen to a band. It was really an overwhelming BOO! Not just a few loud people. Even Dez seemed shocked. He thanked Machine Head for inviting them…people went nuts! DevilDriver had a short time on stage so they belted out song after song with little breaks for lecture. DevilDriver brings a lot of energy to their set and they look like they have fun on stage. If you have an opportunity to see them please do, you wont be disappointed.
When DevilDriver left the stage, the crew came out to change the set in preparation for the British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon. As soon as they raised the backdrop, the crowd booed yet again. I thought they were going to get booed off the stage when it was their turn. Again, I have never really seen a band get booed to this extent. The only other bands I have ever seen some close to this was just about every band I saw open for Slayer. For some reason Slayer fans just aren’t that patient. Anyway, I decided it was time to look for some metal apparel. To my disappointment, they already ran out of everything in extra-large. The posters didn’t come in a protective shell and I didn’t want to buy guitar picks because the only picks I have come from the band members themselves. Ultimately, I left with nothing except wonderful memories and that’s all that really matters anyway.
Bring Me The Horizon took that stage and they did not get booed off. That was very respectful of the crowd to give them their allotted time. And this is where I just have to be brutally honest. I try to find redeeming qualities in any metal band I come across, but I cant do it with Bring Me The Horizon. The singer annoyed me by constantly demanding the crowd to “open this fucking place up” over and over…the crowd did not open anything up. So, get the hint dude! There was small contingent of dedicated fans, but the circle pit, if moshing at all, was small. The fairly high pitch screaming was endless and even when he talked to the crowd he was still screaming. They gave me a headache and I completely tuned out for a little bit spending more time looking at the crowd down below me on the main floor. In my long history of being a metalhead, I say these guys had no business on this tour. It was probably the record label trying to capitalize on attracting seasoned metal fans and bring in some new ones. It probably looked good on paper. Anyway, Bring Me The Horizons music sounds like they went into the studio to record the heaviest music they could in small sound files and then pasted them all together. I am just too old for this shit. The hometown band didn’t impress.
Machine Head; the moment we were all waiting for. I haven’t seen Machine Head since they were on tour supporting Supercharger back around 2001. It was in a small dive club outside Sacramento, CA. It was a great show, but now I was going to see what they really do with more production in a midsized arena. Machine Head did NOT disappoint. They are such a great live band. They opened with I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)…as you would expect. They had cool lighting and visual effects via computer operated screen display behind them. It was just enough to at atmosphere to the show and not detract from the guys playing on stage.
They would treat us to several new songs off Unto The Locust including; I Am Hell, Darkness Within, Who We Are, Locust, and Be Still and know. Of course, they would also play some of their classic songs all the way back to Burn My Eyes, but most of the set consisted of material from their last three albums. For the older fan like me, it was great to hear Old, Ten Ton Hammer, Bulldozer, Davidian, and The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears. From The Blackening, they played Halo, Beautiful Mourning, and Aesthetics of Hate. Other than the volume (really loud), I have no complaints about the Machine Head set, or DevilDriver for that matter. Machine Head’s set list was perfect, encompassing old and new material, but also focusing on the new material from Unto The Locust. The guitar solos were clean and crisp and Dave McClain’s drumming was spot on. Machine Head brought their “A” game and an appropriate amount of production value making this show absolutely memorable!
Machine Head is a live band. They know how to maximize crowd participation. Even some of my friends down in the pit had to take a break; the pit was nonstop. Machine Head are genuine performers and worth seeing if you have the chance. Actually, they are MUST see! They put on a great show and play their own music as you would hear it on a CD. A great show to end a super year in concert-going.