Machine Head / Ill Nino @ Nottingham Rock City, December 12 2001

Uh, the following is my opinion. I paid 12.50 to see the gig and thus I believe I'm entitled to it.

Um, where do I start with this. At the start? Ok. Well, it's down as a 4 band bill. When I arrive at about 8pm, the place is heaving, which surprised me a little as I'd only bought my ticket on the morning of the gig. Soon a band arrive. They announce themselves as Ill Nino (Ninio?). It turns out the first band Sugar Coma couldn't play tonight and Thumb have already been and gone. Someone who books these things really ought to get their arse into gear and sort things. 4 bands are too many, and you end up with situations like this.

Anyway, yeah, Ill Nino have hit the stage. Um. Ah fuck it. They were fucking dire. Ok, let's do the positives first. They work the crowd.

Ok, now let's do the honest opinion bit. This is one of the worst examples of the excessive pollution of third rate unoriginal heaps of bollocks that always manages to infest itself on any genre of music when some band becomes big. The bandwagon is open for business and on climbs anything that looks and sounds right. welcome aboard, make yourself at home. Please do enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. Ill Nino (they tell us that's their name after every song! "Do you know now who we are?" Yes. I'm trying to erase the thought and memory from my brain but you keep ON for fucks sake), look perfect for their time. Dreads and spikey hair. They got the clothes, they've got the look. They've got the moves, they wave their hands in time honoured fashion. They've got a percussionist that isn't needed. They've learnt the detuned riff and they know how to play it. "Let's fuck the place up." Oh yeah, and they've learnt what to say. Why why WHY do soooooo many bands use those phrases? What does it mean? Do people fuck places up? I don't think so. Just run around, jump around have a good time. No ,it has to be fuck this shit up. Whatever happened to intelligence and something to say? "I've got nothing to say" goes one of the lyrics. Ah. There's an old addage, if you've got nothing to say, then don't say anything. A lesson indeed.

They're awful. But worse is that the place laps it up. It's full and 3/4 are loving it. Applauding. They'll be back headlining this place and pulling more than some of the truly talented bands with something to say. Which is a travesty. They've got a song which I think is called Liar. There's only one song called Liar and it's by Rollins. And why has someone got Bonsai trees on his head near me?

They're the resultant wank stain of a fantasy and fixation with Soulfly and The Complete Idiots Guide to Nu-Metal. They cover Eye For An Eye by soulfly. Enough said. Truly one of the most depressing sites and sounds of the year.

Of course that's just my opinion, and I know nothing.

So Machine Head can at least improve on that. Well, they do, but if I'm being honest, and hey, I might as well be - they weren't that good. Oh they played well, but they've just lost the spark and that something that made them interesting a few years back. For me at least. I'll stick my neck out further and say that I actually think Burn My Eyes is the only really good album that they've done, as More Things Change just didn't do much for me. So they start with a song I don't recognise, before playing The Blood The Sweat The Tears, and Flynn abandons his guitar for Old - not a great move, he's not really a natural frontman without the guitar, in the same way Hetfield isn't. It's a little cumbersome.

There's far toooooo many pauses between songs, losing the momentum, and waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much talk about drinking beer "we're having an American style Kegger(sp?) party here tonight". That's all well and good, but Rock City are charging 3 quid for a bottle of Newky Brown, plus they ran out of it after I had one bottle, so unless someone's going to pay for this party, I'm staying relatively sober. "Are you glad to feel alive? woooooooo, howl if you feel glad to be alive" is another thing that is repeated ad nauseum throghout the evening. Almost to the point of feeling like saying "yes, Praise the Lord" in a TV Evangelical moment.

"It's great to be in NottingHAM again, I know it's Notting-um but I'm Californian, I can't get it right", though the once he does and is well pleased with himself - good on ya dude. Shall we drink some more. The place is full of crazy people. There's more songs from the new album probably, if we like it heavy, we can have the 10 Ton Hammer and Take My Scars, I'm Your God Now, From This Day. And raise those hands to the air.

"I want to tell you a story about this next song" he starts, mike set on echo for maximum effect, "the lyrics were written 6 months ago when I was more pissed off than I've ever been. It feels like I've got to try twice as hard as anyone to achieve anyything. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way." And another song follows. Don't know the name of it. Can't remember how it went. more talk, and a bit more buttering up. "Thanks for ignoring what the tabloids have written about us and for sticking with us". They end. People shout for Mush In Head. They return. A speech about how honoured they are to play this country following the events of September 11, Davidian standing out like such a sore thumb tonight.

Then, as with the last time they played these shores, it's Karaoke time. Tonight we get a straight version of Number of the Beast (which to me was the best song of the night!), some of Roots, Iron Man, Breaking The Law - "British metal for ya" (Roots - British?) and then after admitting that he didn't know what he was talking about and "what are we doing" (much like the last time they played here), they end with "the title track off the new album, a song about you written for you by us for you". They should end with Davidian instead. Surely we all know that. Time to walk up the hill again. Not the best gig I've seen this year. Not even the best gig I've seen in the last 24 hours. But I suspect I am in a minority, as the place seemed to love them, and if you enjoy it, then that's all that matters really.