Theres a massive buzz in the air as a huge sold out crowd makes their way into the historic Brixton Academy for an evening with Machine Head. The sentiment is echoed early on by frontman Robb Flynn who asks the crowd if they can feel it. He’s right, theres an energy inside the venue as the band steamrolls their way through the first of two mammoth sets treating the “headcases” to not only all the fan favourites, but also the bands seminal album Burn My Eyes played live and in full. Its a Saturday night in London celebrating the 25th anniversary of the album and there are beers the size of your head. What could possibly go wrong?
The first set the band performs boasts quite a setlist played by a new lineup that plough through song after song with absolute ease. Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka adds his flair to the bands live sound having been borrowed from Death Metal titans Decapitated whilst sticksman Matt Alston joins on drums. The truth is, these new additions are so good that if you were not paying attention, you’d never know that this was a completely new era of Machine head with new members.
‘Imperium’ opens things in the heaviest manner possible, ’Struck A Nerve’ turns the academy into a warzone for the old school who cant even remember the last time they heard the track live. Meanwhile ‘From This Day’ ensures the beer fuelled Saturday night party continues right before almost 5000 people sing every word to Iron Maiden’s ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ prior to the closing of set one with the epic ‘Halo’, confetti and all.
After a ten minute break, its ‘Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies’ blasting over the PA that marks the beginning of something many have been waiting for. Burn My Eyes, live and in full. the stage is draped in the iconic original artwork whilst original Machine Head members Chris Kontos and Logan Mader take over guitar and drum duties. The energy in the academy is redlining as ‘Davidian’ kicks in. Its a song we have seen live countless times before but the addition of the original lineup members almost makes it a whole new experience.
Flames engulf the stage at multiple times throughout the albums play-through. ‘None But My Own’ in particular being a highlight having rarely been in a setlist for as long as we can remember. ‘Death Church’ however is interrupted by an enormous head sized beer landing on the mixing desk and grinding things to a halt. It doesn’t take too long however for things to get back up and running. It may have just been the brief rest the fans needed as ’Blood For Blood’ once more turns the venue into multiple whirlwinds of circle pits. T-shirts, shoes, possibly even body parts are all but lost.
Its more fire and the huge chants of “fuck it all” in ‘Block’ that finally closes this mammoth of a show. There are those that are exhausted after 3 hours of nothing but their favourite band. There are those that have had far too many giant beers, those who missed their trains, those with achey feet and those who lost their shirts, their phones, keys and money in the multiple mosh pits of the night, but regardless, theres one thing uniting all of these people as they leave Brixton Academy, their love of Machine Head and their big fucking smiles as they make their way home.