Feb 1, 2012

Machinehead - Ram's Head Live

By Bob Suehs


February 1, 2012

Baltimore, MD

Rams Head Live

Machinehead's set list:  I Am Hell, Be Still & Know, Imperium, Beautiful, Blood Sweat & Tears, Locust, This is the End, Aesthetics, Old, Darkness, Bulldozer, Ten Ton, Who We Are, Halo, Davidian


The word Machinehead means 3 things in rock n roll:

1. It's the title to a classic Deep Purple record

2. It's a hit single by the band Bush

3. It's a metal band fronted by Robb Flynn that blends hardcore with heavy metal.

This review is about option #3 & this was actually the first time I'd ever experienced a headlining set from Machinehead because over the years they've opened for everyone from Metallica to the 2011 Mayhem Fest tour & the band usually has a short set that's around 30 minutes in length.

Machinehead's set was slated to start at 9:10 PM this night but they actually took the stage early & the show started at 9:08 PM which is rare for metal bands considering most metal shows wind up starting later rather than earlier!

My first taste of Machinehead music was the song "Davidian" which was a song written about a Religious cult from Waco Texas & as irony would have it, that was the last song of the night although I question how many fans at this show knew that song because there were many younger fans there who only knew the bands more recent material & that's the thing I thought was pretty interesting about the crowd; you had the obvious old school fans who went back to the beginning & then you had the newer fans who more than likely saw the band within the past 3 or 4 years opening for bigger bands & playing short sets that were comprised of newer songs....this show was great because the band played a lengthy set that covered all their material!

Listening to the older material you could hear heavier tones, more aggression & pure f**king anger whereas the newer material has a more melodic side & the band actually tried to sing as opposed to screaming when they played some of the newer material. I will be honest here & admit that I can't stand it when the band tries to do clean vocals...the gritty, raw, rough vocals are what made Machinehead's sound in my opinion.

"Ten Ton Hammer" was my personal favorite of the night & the funny thing is, I hadn't heard that song for many years & I actually forgot about it up until they jammed it out at this show...upon hearing it again I was reminded of what a kick ass song it truly was/is!

The light show that accompanied the live show added another element to the Machinehead live experience as well because the beams of lights shot from behind the band members & created a trippy experience for the audience while the band played....it made for a large rock show "feel" even though the show was on a club stage & not an arena.

The other thing I will note is that Robb's guitar playing has improved over the years & the band tries to incorporate more double leads, harmonies with the guitars & when you go back to album #1 by the band you can hear how they've grown, developed & matured as writers & players over the years!

I've seen Machinehead probably a dozen times over the years & this was hands down the best show I've ever seen from the band, they kicked ass, sounded great & after the show various members from all the bands on the bill were at a karaoke bar next door to the club partying all night!

On an unrelated note this show took place on 2/1/12....if you are a fan of the band RUSH you probably flipped with that date!