Machine Head embark on yet another “An Evening with Machine Head” tour, this time in support of the new album Catharsis. While social media outcry may dictate the band has lost it’s way, but the sold out crowd at Paradise Rock Club in Boston said otherwise.
Diving into a 20+ song set spanning 2 and a half hours, the ultimate in fan service sets gives you a little bit of every album of the band’s 9 album catalog. While we live in an age where a setlist for a band’s tour is ultimately spoiled, the band have been changing it up and rotating in songs to make each experience special, which in today’s music world is very refreshing. The band opened with ‘The Blackening’ opener “Clenching the Fists of Dissention” and the fans ultimately knew they were in for a long night celebrating the band’s discography. From there, they jumped right into the thrashier “Volatile” segueing to “Now We Die,” then back to a Blackening song “Beautiful Morning.” Within the midst of all the outcry and backlash against The Burning Red, you’d never be able to tell there was an issue as the band played both “The Blood, the Sweat, the tears” and later on in the set “From This Day,” to which the crowd lit up which is weird because I thought the internet claimed everyone hated this album. Anyways, “Imperium” is always a dominant force in the set. Phil Demmel then rips in with a stand alone guitar solo which was a night touch to fill out and showcase MH’s guitar technique. Robb came out and thanked the crowd for the support of the new album despite the online backlash before launching into “Darkness Within” which included with “Bastards” which appeared later in the set, really translate well live with great fan interaction. It also makes sense that a Dropkick Murphy’s styled song in “Bastards” would go over well with the Boston crowd.
Speaking of new songs, any time they’d play the newer stuff like “Volitale,” “Catharsis,” “Bastards,” and “Is There Anybody Out There” all blended well into the set and didn’t stand out as a sore thumb, they fit right in with the other tunes well. While “Behind a Mask” may have seemed out of place, it served as a nice point before hitting you with those last 5 songs.
These long sets aren’t without their downfalls, while it’s nice you get the huge lengthy experiences, as a fan it can wear you down without the typical opener/change over breathers. Also can’t imagine how Machine Head keeps up the endurance night after night playing these mega sets as even on this night a few times Robb’s voice had a little hint at times of going to hard for too long. Another problem with the set is while you want to represent a lot of your material, even in a 20 song set at 2 and a half hours, you still can’t get to every deep cut as myself and several other of my long time MH fans can detest. But, as noted earlier, these sets are full of surprises, and just when I thought the set was about over, Robb comes out playing the opening to “None but My Own” from ‘Burn My Eyes’ and I lit up with joy. Playing a total of 3 songs from Burn My Eyes with set staple “Davidian” and a return of the classic ‘Old’. Sonically ringing out to “Halo”, fans were treated to a colossal showcase of great sound, great visual display with the lighting and spot on musicianship.
The band is still a force to be reckoned with, and in an era where huge sets fall victim to curfews, this is amazing a band can still present this to their fans. Don’t believe all the fake outrage online, the band is still one of the best Metal bands out there. This is a must see tour.