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Unfortunately, we were unable to get to the venue early enough to catch the opening double header of Man Must Die and Bleeding Through. I was particularly disappointed to miss local boys Man Must Die, a band handpicked by Machine Head main man Robb Flynn, and whose new, No Tolerance For Imperfection album I have been spinning feverously since its release. It has given me hope for metal in Scotland. Alas, Ill have to catch them at their next local outing, which hopefully will be in the not too distant future.
My first band of the night are Hatebreed, and they are awesome tonight. Hatebreed do what Hatebreed do. Akin to AC/DC, all their songs are very similar, and in Hatebreeds case that means HUGE riffs; sometimes thrashy, sometimes slower with breakdowns, but always MASSIVE. Accompanied by Jamie Jastas guttural below of lyrics about self-empowerment & believing in one self, it is difficult not to get swept up by it all (then why wouldnt you want to!?!?). Opening with the anthem I Will Be Heard from the Perseverance album, the band are unrelenting, mixing between fast and heavy and slow and, er, heavy. They keep the crowd thoroughly entertained and some serious moshing is occurring when you consider the band forthcoming. Hatebreed frontman Jamie Jasta has been a metal spokesperson for years, he presents the re-activated Headbangers Ball in the US and is an advocate for all things heavy, he recognises this music is all about the fans, going so far as to invite the whole venue (or those who dont have work the next day .. i.e. ME! Boo!) to come along after the gig and hang at their tour bus! Pretty cool, though a decision he may live to rue given the nick of some in attendance! As great as Hatebreed are, there is no question who the crowd are here to see as the band are clapped off to cries of Machine Fuckin Head - Machine Fuckin Head.
After touring the world for 3 years in support of The Backening, arguably the finest album they have released in their career, youd be forgiven for expecting Machine Head to demonstrate a bit of lethargy on stage when they roll into Glasgow. Then you remember - this is MACHINE FUCKIN HEAD, playing in GLASGOW! It is a well known fact that Machine Head loves playing Glasgow, frontman and principle songwriter Robb Flynn has had a long love affair with the city for years. On previous visits, no sooner than leaving the stage there is an update on the bands website proclaiming the crowds the best of the tour or the loudest of the tour (both claims again made on stage last night). We all know bands say these things night after night to get a reaction from the crowd, of course you would, you wouldnt tell a crowd they were shit and they can f#ck off, but when Flynn tells the crowd they are un-fuckin-beliveable and Glasgow is their home from home his whole demeanour supports it; he looks to the crowd in shock at their explosive reactions all night. Opening with the double (ten tonne!) hammer blow of Clenching the Fists of Dissent(surely one of the greatest metal songs ever written) and Imperium, the band are on fire tonight and rarely let up. Having been main support to Metallica, at various points during the Blackening touring cycle (stopping in Glasgow with them too!), the band were inspired by the metal gods mix and match approach to set selection (i.e. mixing the songs in the set lists to keep it fresh for both the band and the faithful who travel to various stops on tour), this means we get to hear rare gems such as Bite the Bullet, All Falls Down, Struck A Nerve (which is positively earth shattering tonight) and the fantastic Exhale The Vile from the Burning Red; an oft-overlooked classic in the bands back catalogue. The only moment of relative calm is a beautiful rendition of The Burning Red which allows everyone to catch their collective breaths and hold their lighters aloft. By the time the encore of Halo and Davidian arrive, I have taken a balcony vantage point which allows a unique opportunity to watch a full Machine Head circle pit from a birds eye view. it is quite a site to behold, the human whirlpool grows and grows, churning people in then spitting them out, it makes me wonder what the same view of the bands 2004 Barrowlands gig would have looked like during Block the biggest circle pit I have ever seen. Ever.
Machine Head, in a nutshell, kick ass tonight. As always.
I go home with the typical post-metal feeling; sweaty, neck aching, stabbing head pains from screaming every word, and ears ringing so much that it actually feels like you are encased in your own internal bubble, peoples lips move but you cant hear them. Then I put in the i-Pod and listen to .... er... Machine Head. Full Blast.
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