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Machine Head - February 28, 2010 - Olympia, Dublin, IRE

By: Ken McGrath

You’ve got to give it to Machine Head. They’ve been on the road in support of their masterpiece The Blackening for the guts of three years at this stage and are showing no signs of slowing down. Ireland always give them a resounding welcome and it’s no different this time as scores of fans line the street outside of the Olympia from early in the day, drawing smiles and strange looks from passers-by with their chant of “Machine-Fucking-Head!”

Early doors aside, Bleeding Through get a warm response from the crowd. Sure a lot of people clearly don’t get it but they’ve got a strong contingent down the front and middle who are belting along with the slightly gothic tinged metalcore. It’s a strong performance, especially “Kill To Believe” and those who don’t get it choose to ignore it, which is fine, at least it’s a form of respect, rather than hurling abuse.

Hatebreed don’t bother with or need introductions of any sort. It’s all fire, brimstone and high energy from the start, with a slew of songs from the early part of their career driving the old school fans nuts. Jamey Jasta is a dynamo, his own little hurricane, fuelled by the riff-driven music bursting out behind him and you get the feeling that if he wasn’t on stage singing for Hatebreed he’d be in the front row throwing very similar shapes. Hugely enjoyable, it’s great to see them get such a positive response even if many people here are going to be nursing sore limbs tomorrow because of them.

Then come the mighty Machine Head. It was a dangerous choice having Hatebreed open for them and a lesser band may have seemed tame afterwards but not this beast. As you’d expect from a band who are on their 350-odd show of their current touring cycle they’re as tight as fuck, Dave McClain locked in tight, his drums rising high above the rest of the stage. Adam Duce smiling like the long-haired, tattooed, friendly giant he is, thumping his bass with aplomb and vigour.

Considering how long they’ve been on the road with this record it’s exciting to hear the amount of energy and joy they still put into the songs and for those that have seen them already they mix it up a bit as “Bite The Bullet” makes an appearance, the drums in the verse really getting the crowd worked up. “Seasons Wither” and “A Farewell To Arms” getting the already worked up crowd into a frenzy and Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel indulge in some back to back rocking and shredding of a fine type.

Although the set leans heavily on the …Ashes and …Blackening albums there’s more than enough dips into the past for “Blood For Blood” from their astonishingly still fresh debut Burn My Eyes. “Ten Ton Hammer” is delivered early on, that familiar riff driving the place insane as the sweating mass of bodies bellows along, while a surprise rendition of “The Burning Red” provides much needed respite and “Bulldozer” ploughs a deep furrow. “Imperium” is received like an old friend, Flynn delivering lyrics with arms wide open, hands clenched.

The expected big finish of that double whammy of mammoth riffs “Halo” and “Davidian,” lands like the aforementioned ten ton hammer and you can’t help but understand why this band are so revered and respected. They give as much as they get and the crowd gives them loads. The words of those two anthems will be ringing wildly in many ears for days to come. You can see why Machine Head keep coming back to Ireland.


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