Machine Head

Wolverhampton Civic

April 22

Machine Head with a cast of thousands. Well, 3 other bands at least. So hold on and here we go.

Skinlab were the first band. Never heard anything by them before, but they'd been described as a cross between Machine Head and Neurosis. Not too convinced on the Neurosis comparison. Not as percussive or experimental, although they do make a very heavy and dense noise, which was very nice indeed thankyou. Also they managed 3 songs in their 20 mins, and of course, Neurosis would currently do about 1 1/2 :). Bit more accessible as well, in the Machine Head heavy way. Few technical problems, but they overcame. Second song, don't know the name, was long, heavy and had some really good stuff in it. The album is apparently out and will be tracked down and caught. Pleasant surprise of the night award to them. And unless my ears misled me, which is always possible, I believe they said they would be returning with Exodus.

Coal Chamber. Hmmm. I think got the best opening reception of the night. Which would have nothing to do with them sounding a little too close to Korn for comfort, and more to do with the 'the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, we don't need to water let the motherfucker burn, burn motherfucker burn' chant. Which of course everyone knew and joined in on. That's probably an unfair comparison to have hanging over the heads, but it's going to be there. They were good, in some respects better than I thought they would be, but there's the nagging doubt in my head. Still, the masses enjoyed a lot. The highlights of the album were played, including Loco and Big Truck. Dez wasn't putting himself about as much as I thought he would, but there you go. I expect them to be back and headlining the same places in a matter of months, because the buzz and the hype is there for them at the moment. And yeah, Rayna does suffer from the 'she looks cute' syndrome.

Napalm Death. Local heroes I guess, well, close enough if you ignore the football rivalries of the Midlands. Never been a fan, so the best bit for me was them opening with the Dead Kennedys seminal Nazi Punks Fuck Off, dedicated of course, to the National Front. After that, it was probably your typical Napalm scene, minus of course the stage invasion due to the Civic's staunch no surfing or diving rules. Suffer the Children, some from the earlier albums and a sprinkle of stuff from the soon to be released album, the best of which sounded like Prelude to me. Not bad. Hasn't converted me, but they were ok, although, they didn't get the local heroes reception I expected. Wrong venue for them really

And so to Machine Head. Got the sort of elevation in popularity that Coal Chamber are about to have. Support major band (Slayer) on UK tour, months later return to headline the same venues, then have the 2nd album problem. Some noise preludes Davidian which is still a powerful opener and the best thing the band have done to date. Though the reaction from the crowd isn't as frenzied as I'd have expected. That honour at the Civic still goes to Korn. Take my scars andStruck a Nerve were up next, before dipping back to Burn My Eyes for A Thousand Lies. The energy picked up a bit, though Logan was going for it from the start. Unfortunately, the new album has failed to blow me away, and I haven't listened to it much, so they then played a few more from it, which I recognise, but forget the titles of. But during some of them, the set seemed to drag. I dunno, it was during some of the slower stuff. As ever, the fast is faster, the slow is slower, but i don't remain convinced by all the slow grinding. Robb seems happy enough to be around and it's all pretty decent, though still, it seems a bit muted in the crowd, which personally I think is partly down to the venue. Blood for Blood is still powerful, Ten Ton Hammer from "the new piece of shit" is a great song, despite the more melodic vocals from FLynn, (sellout, pah bollocks). After asking who was seeing them for the first time, who'd seen them the last time and who saw them supporting Slayer, they launch into the customary cover of the CroMags Hard Times. Some shit about the old school showing the new school how it's done sets off Old. Don't like that old school vs new school shit. People are there cos they want to be, not for how long they listened. Everyone starts somewhere, I've been listening for probably 15 years now, but that means shit. Cos I started somewhere it still meant that I missed great stuff first time round like the Dead Kennedys. Doesn't mean I like them less now. Rant off. And Block or, Fuck It All to give it the Flynn title finishes things off whereupon Logan goes on a crowd surf around most the venue and out the corridor. Something ironic that he's the only one really able to do that, and everyone else is threatened with prosecution on entering the building. 70 mins and it's done. Not enough yet at times too much because of the section which dragged. Guess I still can't make my mind up. But overall, a great value gig, made better by the discovery of Skinlab.