That’s the noise currently living in my ears after last night’s Machine Head gig, and it’s one of the painful reminders of just how awesome last night was. The others would be the aches and pains of hours of pit antics, and a severe lack of sleep.
We got there way too early; I was expecting much worse traffic than was actually on the roads, so we were inside waiting for the arena doors to open by 5:45. It was disheartening at first, as teen after teen arrived and queued, most of who were wearing the same one or two Machine Head t-shirts, and all of who looked way too young to even remember the likes of Davidian. I was sat there feeling very old as emo haircuts, leggings(!) and bumfluff beards queued, wondering why on earth anyone would stand and queue to get in before the first support act starts, but each to their own.
I don’t even remember the name of the first band, but I feel for them. Trying to get a small crowd going for it at half-six in the evening, with really crazy vocals and heavy guitars is a pretty thankless task. They had one half-decent track but the others left me cold. Next up was Bleeding Through, a group I knew of through the likes of Metal Hammer, but had never really listened to before. They were pretty good, very heavy and really good at working the crowd (I’d never been a part of ‘The Wall Of Death’ before last night), but still pretty indecipherable. To be honest, I think the sound setup for the first two acts left a lot to be desired. All you could hear was guitar and nothing else. I’m as big a fan of heavy guitar as the next man, but I want to hear the rest of the band too.
After the first two small sets Hatebreed took the stage. Now Hatebreed I’m more familiar with. They were great, big heavy riffs and a lot of bouncing. They were the first ones to get me moving on the floor. They played a long set much to everyone’s very vocal enjoyment, and I think I’ll be investing in an album or two soon. Lights up, curtains up and time to mill around and get a drink before the headliners take the stage.
Stood there with my mate having a chat before they started, the roadies started doing the sound check, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard – or more accurately ‘felt’ – a louder bass drum. It made every part of me shake; we looked at each other in instant acknowledgement that this was going to be loud, very loud, and very excellent! Once the curtain dropped they opened with a track from the ‘The Blackening’ album and the whole arena went fucking crazy! They weren’t promoting an album so they treated us to a mix of old stuff and some of the less well-known album tracks which was just brilliant. Everyone in there knew every track, the pit was bouncing, shoving and getting into it (and we were in the middle of it), it was a metal-head’s wet dream. At one point the band got everyone to clear the centre of the floor and demanded to their very obliging fans, that they start ‘the biggest circle pit this place has ever seen’. We didn’t disappoint, it was immense and incredibly good.
Robb Flynn and the rest of the guys are consummate professionals; every track they played sounded as good as the studio versions. Harmonised solos, awesome vocals and finishing with an encore of Halo followed by Davidian just topped off the perfect night. You haven’t heard Davidian until you’ve felt the machine gun double-bass drumming hammering your chest. There’s not a bit of me that isn’t aching this morning, I didn’t get in the front door ’til after 1am, and I can barely hear a thing today, but it was all worth it. I can happily say that I’ve seen one of my favourite bands in the world, and they lived up to my expectations and far beyond. I was going to go to a local Rock Night tomorrow night, but I don’t think I’ll bother now, there’s no way it can top that while it’s still fresh in my head .