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Published on August 8th, 2008 | by Daniel Boyle


Machine Head Marathon

Today I bought a ticket to Machine Head. They are my favourite band, ever. So I’m kinda excited to see them. However, they are not headlining which is not quite as exciting. And they are playing with Slipknot, which means there will be a lot of total fucking dicks there.

However, to celebrate, I am having myself a bit of a machine head marathon.

The first time I heard about Machine Head was sometime in the afternoon when Robb Flynn was doing an interview on Triple J. I was really interested in the stuff he was talking about, and they played Five at the end of that. I didn’t really pay that much attention to them for a while after that, but one day my friend Henry wanted me to burn this Fear Factory CD. I don’t know if it was planned or anything, but underneath the Fear Factory CD was a burnt copy of “Burn My Eyes”. It was scratched as all fuck, but I ripped it onto my computer, and listened to it pretty regularly.

Around this same time someone lent me a copy of The Burning Red. I had listened to it a few times at other people’s places, but never had a copy for myself. At the time I was a real nu-metal fiend, so it was right up my alley! So this was late high school, a couple of years later the album Through The Ashes of Empires came out. I think is what really rekindled my interest in the band, at the same time I bought their live album Hellalive. It was one of those days where I had this real urge to buy a bunch of CDs, which I don’t get that often, as I’m pretty poor most of the time.

So anyway, this was probably late 2003, early 2004, which is when I moved from Sydney to Canberra. I was listening to a bunch of stuff, but Machine Head was always a feature, in mid 2004 I found out Machine Head were touring and got a ticket straight away. Actually come to think of it, I didn’t get it for a week or so, as I had to save up a bit of money to be able to afford it.

At the show I lined up for a few hours beforehand, I met some people that I’m friends with now. I remember Switchblade opened, and they were pretty sweet, then Contrive, Andrew Haug from Triple J’s band played, they were really boring, everyone was just hanging out so much for Machine Head.

Their set that night is my favourite I have seen by any band, ever. No band I have seen has come anywhere near that level for me. The setlist was spread across all the albums. I knew every word to every song, was right up the front and everyone around me was just as siked as I was. They finished with “Block”, which was a great way to finish up.

This is what Robb Flynn wrote on his diary on the Machine Head website

It was literally some of the craziest shows we’ve ever played. Every single person up in front knew every fuckin’ word, screaming their heads off, HUGE circle pits from hell, crazy fuckers just losing their minds, Machine Head chants between every single song, and got to meet tons of cool people. Frankly, we love Australia, and cannot wait to get back.

So during the show I was holding hands with this girl, and somehow after the show I managed to be in the backstage area, as this girl and another friend of mine are massive forum fanatics on the Machine Head site, so they are like e-pals with the band. Anyway, in there I felt so nervous. It is really funny to look back on, I was fully shaking, I had no idea what to do, I was so shy.

It was only really after the show that it really hit me just how much I like Machine Head, just how impressive their live performance was, and mostly, just how long I had been interested in the band.

After that show I was always comparing other big shows to seeing Machine Head, and nothing really came close. That feeling of knowing every single word of every single song is not actually something I regularly have. A lot of other shows I’ve been to have been really awesome, but they didn’t leave me with the same feeling that night did.

Last year Machine Head put out a new album, The Blackening. Eventually I bought it, although a lot of the magazines were giving it rave reviews, for some reason I didn’t think I was going to be that excited by it. Whilst it is a good album, it is just something I don’t listen to all that much. At the end of the year Machine Head toured again, and I was pretty excited. So this was 2007, the first time I saw them was 2004 (Unfortunately when they toured with Slayer in 2001 I was some poor kid from the country, I remember thinking that would be something I would really like to go). So in three years I hadn’t seen anything top their performance at the Roundhouse.

My night at Festival Hall in Melbourne was so different. Whilst for the Sydney show in 2004, I had got their really early, and was so eager for a front row position, this time around I didn’t get there until after doors open, as I was too busy drinking up. While the supports were much more high profile (Archenemy and Trivium), I was still so excited for Machine Head that I didn’t really care for them. It was Halloween that night, so everyone was dressed up in this ridiculous outfits, it was pretty funny. The set was made up of a fair few of the new songs, which are quite long, but still plenty of old stuff, like “Davidian” and “Take My Scars”.

The show was at Festival Hall, which in all reality is a horrible venue. Melbourne really struggles when it comes to large, but not too large venues. It has nothing like the Hordern Pavillion. The fact that Festival Hall has the “dancefloor” area setup sideways doesn’t make too much sense. Anyway, during the show instead of my previous effort of waiting at the front, I occupied my time by drinking a lot of beer. I nearly got in a fight with some dude, I can’t really remember why, but he pushed me or something so I threw my beer at him and walked off. During the set, instead of having to have the best position, I just looked for a position where I could have a good view, and did a bunch of crowdsurfs throughout the set. Looking back at that show and the one in 2004, it really shows that a lot of my values have really changed a lot. But that happens.

After the show, with the same friend as in Sydney as 2004, I got to go backstage. Really just by pretending that I should be there, which I probably shouldn’t have been. There is a photo with me and Phil Demmel. As per usual, in all photos, I look stupid. However in this photo I do have a giant beard, which is raging. The photo was taken on a camera phone, which explains the shit quality.

Anyway, I mention this girl that I was holding hands and whatever with at the Sydney show. She was there backstage as well at Melbourne. After the Sydney show I talked to her online and I think she thought I was really weird so she barred me. At the show she’s all like “OH HI DAN” like it was some big deal, and I was just like “hey, how’s it going”. I think she thought I was going to have some kind of freakout or some shit, but I just didn’t care. I felt really empowered in that moment.

Instead of sitting there quivering and not being able to say anything, I had this great conversation about At The Gates with Robb, and how I was planning to go to the European festivals this year. As good as the conversation was, I never went…there’s always next year.

Anyway, I don’t know really why I wrote all this. I guess I wanted something to do instead of folding clothes or sorting out the mess that is my house. And I also felt like writing something down about why Machine Head in particular are my favourite band.

So far I in my marathon I am up to Blood of The Zodiac, the last track on The More Things Change. That CD I picked up in Brisbane, sometime in 2004 while I was up there. It’s something I should probably listen to more, it’s a great album, but it does share a lot of similarities to Burn My Eyes, which would be my favourite album, ever. So I listen to that one more.

About the Author

Founder of @sportslashlife. Australian living in Chile. Freestyle footbag player and passionate sports fan.

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