The thronging masses of black t-shirts and battle jackets could only herald the start of one thing…An evening with the one and only Machine F*cking Head! It’s been a long three years we’ve had to wait to see the furious four grace Australian shores again, but despite the cold and windy Sydney night, hundreds of Machine Head fans descended early upon the Enmore Theatre to watch one of modern metal’s giants play their absolute hearts out across 3 insane hours while we head-bang, motherfucker! Even before the evening began, you could feel that this was going to be a gig never to forget. Even more so for me, as the first time Machine Head brought their Evening With shows to Australia, age limits kept me out of the show.
The lights dimmed and the frozen crowd in Sydney’s Enmore Theatre let out an almighty roar, joining in chorus to Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary of a Madman.’ The stage was bathed in a deep blue as drummer Dave McClain led bassist Jared MacEachern, axeman Phil Demmel and frontman Robb Flynn out. Pulling no punches, Machine Head launched straight into the monster track ‘Imperium.’ The crowd moved at Robb Flynn’s command as the pit opened up the moment McClain’s huge sounding double kick joined forces with Flynn and Demmel’s twin lead guitar attack, slicing through the air. Following with newer cuts ‘Volatile’ and the mega-track ‘Now We Die’ Machine Head did not let up for one second, as circle pits engulfed the Enmore Theatre floor.
Next up Machine Head gave us our first fix from The Blackening with ‘Beautiful Mourning.’ After wishing Flynn a very happy birthday for yesterday, it was straight back into business with ‘Kaleidoscope’ and ‘Clenching the Fists of Dissent.’ After being treated to an epic guitar solo from the one and only Phil Demmel, we were left singing our hearts out to Unto the Locust’s ‘Darkness Within.’ One thing is for sure, there was no darkness in the Enmore tonight, only 2000 metalheads losing their minds! Epic track after epic track followed as we were left in awe at Machine Head’s ability to command a crowd like no other, with Flynn the Moses of the mosh, parting the sea of sweat-drenched die-hards at his complete command.
Sydney was given an extra couple of treats courtesy of Flynn and company tonight, with covers of ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ & ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden getting the entire theatre off their feet and singing along. After the Catharsis track ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ had the Enmore Theatre looking more like a war-zone, Machine Head dimmed the lights as the intro for ‘Locust’ echoed across the Enmore. The crowd parted once again as McClain’s kick drum and MacEachern’s bass rose across the PA. There was a deafening roar as McClain and Flynn led us into the main riff from ‘Locust’ as the two sides of the crowded collided in the organised chaos that is the wall of death.
18 songs, a guitar solo and now drum solo into this 27 song set-list leviathan, we see no let up from the crowd or Machine Head as Flynn beckons for ‘the biggest fucking circle pit of the night’ – We deliver, as the entire floor spins to an incredible live delivery of ‘Killers and Kings.’ Freedom rings throughout the Enmore as Machine F*cking Head launch into ‘Davidian.’ Relentless double kick drives the crowd through ‘Davidian,’ screaming every last lyric with Flynn and co-extracting insanity out of every person in the theatre.
Davidian drew close to the main set, heralding the start of the first of 3 encores. The stage is painted a dimly lit yellow, as Flynn and McClain lead the charge on ‘Descend the Shades of Night.’ A perfect showcase of Machine Head as a live force to be reckoned with, even being two and a half hours into a set. Machine Head won’t let up and are still delivering as furiously and tightly as if they’d only just opened the night on the following tracks ‘Aesthetics of Hate,’ ‘Game Over’ and ‘Old.’
Machine Head closed with their magnus opus, the aptly titled ‘Halo’ to mark our 27 songs, 3 hour Evening with Machine Head as over. Drenched in sweat and probably a decent bit of blood, this gig solidifies the absolute insanity that is an evening Machine Head, as well as reinforcing the ability Machine Head have in turning what would be just another gig to most bands, into a night to remember for everyone in the theatre. The cool air greets us as we file out of the Enmore Theatre into the night. Every single person in awe of what Machine Head gave each one of us, their complete and unconditional all. I don’t think I’ll ever be in 27 circle pits in one night ever again…unless they come back!
Photography by Britt Andrews