Managed to miss the first band Bardo due to not being there when they played!
But I was there for One Minute Silence. It's kind of strange seeing them on such a big stage, but on the other hand, you also feel that it's something you're probably going to have to get used to seeing. They kind of fit it well, with the larger than life stage presence, though of course due to the restrictions of the Civic, things are way more civilised than normal, with no stage divers to be seen. During their set, the band perhaps bravely decide to go for a near 50/50 split of old material, and new as yet unreleased material. At least if feels like around a 50/50 split. But it's maybe not such a gamble. The likes of Holy Man is perhaps their finest moment yet, and in Rise and Shine, they have one of their most restrained and melodic sections to a song. Which doesn't mean they've lost the energy, far from it, just that it could well be that the new album is an altogether more satisfying thing in the long run. The space on offer on the Civic stage means that Dani and new guitarist Masey can run and leap to their hearts content. "Machine Head in the house" shouts Yap. I KNOW HE said it. He said it 3 times. And it still sounds stupid. It's not a house, it's a hall. I know I know, but what you have to understand, is this is a personal pet hate of mine, combined with my sense of humour and logic, where I sometimes take things or look at things from their very literal meaning. Don't take offence to me saying this. It's a personal thing. No long love letters please. South Central of course stirs things up, as does Yap with his little chats to the crowd. Tonight Gary Glitter is somewhat dubiously praised. Yeah, they can straddle the line of offensive and good humour as much as anyone. But there again, as the prelude to Please Remain Calm Yap gives vent asking people to think during the countdown to the millenium that every second a child dies. "36000 children die a day, and they spent a billion pounds on a fucking tent" he cries as the song launches. Sometimes they cut close to the edge, but sometimes they seem to indicate that there's a little more bubbling away beneath the surface.
It's weird isn't it. The other week I saw earthtone9 and almost didn't want to see One Minute Silence after them, because well, just because. And this time it's almost the same, but now it's after seeing OMS, I'm not sure about wanting to see Machine Head tonight. I guess part of me remembers the last time that I saw them here, and it was to be honest, pretty disappointing and boring. But that was partly because that's how I saw the The More Things Change album - disappointing and boring. The Burning Red however seems more interesting. But you know you're in for a full on metal show as the drum rise dominates the stage, flanked either side by a symmetrical wall of amps. It may be old and unoriginal, but be honest, it still gives you a little thrill. Most of us I suspect would love to be standing directly in front lapping it all up. As he takes to the stage, Flynn holds his arms outstretched in that Max Cavalera aping Chris Cornell aping Jesus Christ pose, and states, "I know what you want Wolverhampton, I know what you fucking want". No, you don't mate, cos I ain't allowed to say what I want! And besides, Davidian is saved for the encore these days!!
The band rip into their set, and the Civic goes suitably apeshit. New guitarist Ahrue seems to fit in quite well, indeed his guitar sound appears to be the the dominant one, with Flynn seemingly more content to take on a real frontman job these days, as evident by him leaving Ahrue to play guitar alone for Old and From This Day as Flynn goes to "meet the kids". It's almost like an attempt to make that step up to the next level. Me, dunno how I like some of it.
Flynn himself seems to be in a fairly beligerant mood, extolling the virtues of smirnoff and coke, and calling everyone insane. Ok. Yeah, I know, I'm too much of a cynic. "Can I ask a stupid question?" Flynn asks, "yeah", "Do you like it fucking heavy?" As opening lines to Ten Ton Hammer goes, this one has an extra dose of cheese on top, but you can't deny it's one of the better tunes of the second album, and the Civic goes another shade of apeshit. It's a pattern that continues throughout the set, old and new mix, the rap elements that have alarmed some people don't feel that bad, and The Blood The Sweat The Tears sounds awesome.
They top it off by doing the song that we are really want, Davidian, as an encore, "I love this fucking shit" cries Flynn as that riff crashes in, and you believe him, simply because it is one of THE great riffs, and one which Machine Head haven't topped. And on the basis of that, they should've ended there and then, instead of dragging the set through a couple more songs and the Fear Factoryism of playing a snippet of Sabbath, a snippet or Sepultura, a snippet of Pantera. Just thank god they didn't do Message in a Bottle. Or at least I didn't hear it.