This past week has been a bumper one for Belfast’s metal fans with the likes of Exodus, Alestorm and Sabaton storming the city. However, Saturday 5th of March was the gig most eagerly anticipated with Machine Head promising “An Evening With” and a fistful of metal delights; the fact the show sold out weeks in advance spoke volumes for their current popularity.
To say the Limelight was packed would be an understatement, there was little room to move and it was hotter than all hell by the time Robb Flynn and company took to the stage and pummelled Belfast into gleeful submission with a rampaging “Imperium”. From that point on the intensity was relentless with band and audience feeding off each others boundless energy. New-ish tracks (for Belfast anyway) such as “Killers and Kings” and “Now We Die”, from 2014’s outstanding Bloodstones And Diamonds, went over just as well as established classics such as “Take My Scars” and an absolutely ferocious “Davidian”, proof that Machine Head are as good as ever! A six song encore that included the caustic “Aesthetics of Hate” and “Game Over” saw the band take no prisoners and the Belfast hordes unleashed absolute hell in a mosh pit that took up pretty much the length and breadth of the venue.
In total, Machine Head played for a fraction over two and a half hours, a monster set by anyones standards and all the more impressive considering they play music this demanding. Credit must also go to their soundman who had the levels set just right for the size of the venue. In the past bands such as Slayer have played here and it’s been so loud as to completely distort the music; this was not the case with Machine Fucking Head.
Robb Fynn, ever the malevolent ring master, goaded the crowd into ever higher levels of pandemonium and while Machine Head will always be his band, Phil Demmel would appear to be the beating heart of the unit. Whether riffing like a bastard or soloing like a mad man, he did it all with a smile on his face and spent the night interacting with anyone within spitting distance. It’s no coincidence that the band experienced a new lease of life once he joined them full time!
This night saw Machine Head give Belfast an ass-whupping it will not forget for a long time to come. 10/10