Machine Head / One Minute Silence
December 14 1999
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 off 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 all of Message in a Bottle. Or at least I didn't hear it.
Couple of days later I saw them in Nottingham.
How long is it since I've had a whinge? Ok, well time for one. Machine Head were good. But having seen them only a few days ago, they were disappointing. Why? Because basically Mr Flynn decided to say exactly the same things, in the same places, with the same vocal inflections. Although he changed the wolverhampton to Nottingham. Ok, that's not a big thing, and it's my fault for seeing them twice, but as much as I'm sure that Flynn is totally genuine in what he says, I kind of end up feeling that it's missing something. spontaneity. He takes to the stage telling us "I know what you want Nottingham, I know what the fuck you want".. The Blood The Sweat The Tears is relabelled The Blood The Sweat the beers. The vocal inflexion for "the beers" is exactly the same and yes, I'm being totally anal in all this. But it's just something that stands out to me. I mean, what does it require for a place not to be "full of crazy assed insane people" blah blah blah. Basically all the spiel is exactly the same as it was for Wolves. Same place in the set. Same stuff. Same smirnoff and cokes.
There is on difference as Flynn is at pains to point out the RC was the first place they ever headlined in the UK. And it may just be me, but there' a sense of irony when he points out that a number of the sold out crowd weren't there. I wasn't. But it struck me as ironic, cos neither were half of the current MH lineup.
The one difference, and it's a good one, is that the bloody medley of pantera, seps etc is dropped tonight. thank kcuf. Though i still think they mess up the end. No Block. I reckon they should do Davidian followed by Block and just bugger straight off after that. As it is when they do bugger off, it's 5 past bleeding 10 and they've only been on for 70 minutes tops. Which on 3 albums, major headline tour and all that, is pretty much taking the piss. No matter how many times Flynn says very in his thank you very, very, very, very, VERY much departure from the stage. But hey, I'm just a cynical old bastard. Please ignore me and move on.