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With 3 bands of this calibre in one night, it was Christmas coming early for thousands of us. In front of an already filled venue, Children of Bodom lashes out with ‘Living Dead Beat’, jumping instantly to ‘In Your Face’. As usual, the Finnish guys are powerful and extremely tight when it comes to playing live. And as lead singer Alexi Laiho said in a recent interview: “I’d rather puke on stage if I feel sick than miss a note”. ‘Blooddrunk’, title song from their latest album follows. Surprisingly, the band don’t see it appropriate to play their new single ‘Smile Pretty for the Devil’ which is a shame considering the quality of that song. The slower and sublime ‘Angels Don’t Kill’ is next and it is now obvious that Bodom’s popularity is the reason for the Apollo being heaving during the first support. ‘Silent Night, Bodom Night’ and ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ close this short but amazing set and the night has just started.
Tuesday 2nd December 2008
Hammersmith Apollo in London, UK
“Machine Fucking Head! Machine Fucking Head!”. It sounds like the whole room is chanting and anyone unaware of the line up would definitely think that the band coming is headlining. There is a quite clear divide tonight as it seems that a lot of us are here for either MH or Slipknot. Now, as this is my all time favourite band, I thought it would be hard not to be biased, but after witnessing tonight’s show, I can say that, without a doubt, Machine Head deserve every single best live performance award they have ever received. Robb Flynn is welcomed by thousands of screaming fans and oozes charisma as he makes his entrance on stage, kicking off with ‘Clenching the Fists of Dissent’. Horns are high in the air, heads are banging. “Cheers motherfuckers, cheers!”. Robb seems suitably impressed by the crowd’s response. With one of the best metal intros, ‘Imperium’ follows, creating a violent mosh pit on the ground floor. “You guys in the UK understand Machine Head better than in the US and that’s why we love coming here”, confesses Flynn. After making the whole of London’s streets and walls vibrate with ‘Now I Lay Thee Down’, ‘Ten Ton Hammer’ and ‘Old’, Flynn decides to proceed to his usual ritual of throwing a plastic cup of whiskey and coke into the audience. A good throw leads to a perfect catch at the front. Not one drop lost to which he will comment: “Don’t just fucking hold it, drink it!”. The guys are visibly having a lot of fun tonight and so are we. From the last album ‘The Blackening’, ‘Halo’ is up next and enthrals us with a perfectly synchronised riff from Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn. The crowd’s favourite, ‘Davidian’, closes a breathtaking set that will leave me and fellow Machine Head fans with a stiff neck and sore vocal chords for the next couple of days.
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Reviews & Photography by Kristell Gathoye
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As you might have guessed by now, I was going to this gig to see both supports. I had seen Slipknot twice before on a festival stage and hadn’t been impressed so I had decided to keep an open mind tonight and give them a third and last chance to rock my socks off. The show intro did make a positive impact on me as Joey Jordison stands behind his drum kit wearing a thorn crown and gloves made of twigs. Corey Taylor then jumps on stage and starts with ‘Surfacing’, visibly a crowd pleaser. The venue is packed and going mad. It would be pretty challenging to stay still and not get into the vibe. Shawn Crahan is giving his silver barrels a hard time while they’re spiralling up in the air. ‘Eeyore’ kicks off followed later by another favourite, ‘Disasterpiece’. Now, because, the tour bares the name of the new album, you would expect the band to promote their latest material but with only 2 recent tracks, it doesn’t look that way. Mellow ‘Dead Memories’ and ‘Psychosocial’ will be the only chosen ones. ‘Spit It Out’ is the highlight for me and what I will remember from this set. Corey Taylor tells everyone to sit on the floor for this next song and amazingly, almost the whole ground floor obeys. Now, that’s an impressive achievement and looks quite surreal. The fans know exactly the routine and luckily I have a friend with me to teach me the rules. On the same note, everyone jumps up and mayhem is created. A hell of a lot of fun, I admit. ‘Only One’ and ‘(sic)’ will provide the encore that sees Joey performing his now famous rotating drum solo. All in all, as visually pleasing and entertaining as this band is, I can’t help but feeling an important lack of interaction, undoubtedly caused by all of them wearing masks and showing no emotions. The music, although catchy, is not as powerful as the messages they are trying to convey and even though I enjoyed the gig, I don’t think I would add them on my list of bands to go and see again.
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