GIG REVIEW: An Evening With MACHINE HEAD Live at The Olympia Theater, Dublin
An evening with Machine Head became a Heavy Metal marathon as the metal titans shook Dublin’s Olympia on the closing night of their ‘Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary Tour’. An evening that has been proudly recognized by the band as the longest show of their careers, coming in at three hours and forty minutes, exceeding fans’ expectations and unapologetically breaking curfew. And all with a humble, unspoken sense of prevailing. And of not wanting a perfect night to end.
Two unique backdrops saw six members willing to go the distance, and a crushing setlist spanning over thirty songs that made for a historic night in the making. As founding member Rob Flynn stepped out from the shadows, joined by veteran bassist Jared MacEachern as well as new blood; guitarist Vogg Kieltyka and drummer Matt Alson, the quartet launched into a monstrous and career-spanning set, beginning with the behemoth that is “Imperium”. Perhaps the only thing more diverse than the set-list and lineup changes were the mosh-pits themselves. Circle, rectangle, triangle, whatever shape Flynn had in his head at the time became the chaotic formation he demanded from the crowd. And Dublin gave it to him. From “I Am Hell”, “Now We Die” to “Aesthetics of Hate” “Catharsis” as well as “Bulldozer” and the mighty “Halo” to name but a handful, Machine Head played to the point most bands would have said their goodbyes and gone home. Flynn and MacHearn, however, were only just warming up.
Following a brief interval, the two returned with original members Logan Mader on guitar and Chris Kontos on drums to perform ‘Burn My Eyes’ in its entirety, lest we forget how remarkable a record it was. Released in 1994, ‘Burn My Eyes’ created a harmonious space where the heaviest elements of thrash, groove metal, industrial, punk and rap lived together. While it may have taken a minute for the rest of the world to catch on, once it did there was no stopping this band’s ascension. Which the night’s performance honored, cranking up the heat on the heavy and kicking off a different party altogether. Classics such as “Davidian”, “Old”, “The Rage to Overcome” and the evening closer “Block” served up a soundtrack of the celebration of the music and friendship of those who created and supported it over 25 years. Warm thanks, shots of Jameson and gifting fans with memorabilia and a covers medley that included everything from Slayer and Metallica to Tenacious D’s “Fuck Her Gently” brought it all to an exhausted but satisfying end, sending no-one home quite the same as when they arrived.
Since their inception, Machine Head have often been popular to hate in certain quarters. Whether it’s been their music, overall gossip surrounding the band, or Flynn’s heated commentary on, well, anything! So much so that some have even sworn to avoid the ‘Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary Tour’. Yet talk about he who has the last laugh. Sorry to disappoint the detractors, but their tour sold out despite your avoidance of it. While their imminent future might be unclear, and their current lineup raising cause for concern amongst some fans, one thing is certain; this band, and particularly Rob Flynn, are unconditionally resilient. A wise person wouldn’t bet that we’ve heard the last of Machine Head. And any true lover of metal will pray we haven’t. If you stupidly found resonance among the “hurr-durr” trolling and avoided ‘An Evening With Machine Head’, you missed out on one of the most memorable nights in metal for some considerable time.‘Nuff said!