[LIVE REVIEW] Machine Head – Forum Theatre, Melbourne 21/07/2018

For those of you who haven’t been to The Forum in Melbourne, it is an amazing venue and a perfect choice for tonight’s show. Good size, Good sound and plenty of atmosphere. The roof of the venue is set like the night sky with high ceilings painted blue with tiny lights looking like stars. The interior is set like a Greek Coliseum with columns and marble statues throughout the venue. If you can go to a show there, I recommend it for the venue alone, it makes any band look good.

Doors open and everyone is enjoying the happy hour special, listening to the varying metal and rock tunes played over the PA getting amped up. We are all waiting for Machine Head to come out to do what they do best, put on one hell of a night. The tour is off the back of their latest release Catharsis and what the fans got was a most awesome 3hr set from the Cali Rifflords.

As the room lights go down, Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman comes on and people start to turn heads and get ready for the show, the stage lights dim, voices roar and the intro to Imperium begins. “HEAR ME NOW!” Robb screams and the crowd makes sure they know we are alive and ready to bang our heads.

The setlist covers every moment of their career from earliest to latest albums, sating even the old school fans hunger, with the likes of Ten Ton Hammer, Desire to fire, The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears and Descend the Shades of Night.

The new songs off Catharsis are given a different life on the stage as to the album recordings. The riffs sound heavier and you can see and hear the emotion that Robb brings to the lyrics. Beyond the Pale and Catharsis had the crowd singing the chorus and Triple Beam got the crowd jumping and necks snapping.

Given that this is a full night of Machine Head, everyone had their chance in the spotlight, except Jared MacEachern. (bassists never get their due credit, (ha – written by a bassist). Phil Demmel shreds up a storm part way into the night center stage. You can’t fault the guy and his guitar skills or sound, everyone was screaming and wanting more as Phil walks off and Robb comes out with an acoustic and starts strumming the chords to Darkness Within. He talks about how much he appreciates Machine Head fans and how they have been doing this for 23 years now and still going strong. One girl stands on a guy’s shoulders with a sign and Robb instantly recognizes her “I know you, I remember! This girl has come from Barcelona to fucking Melbourne to catch this show!”. About two hours in Dave McClain gets his time to shine. Already known for being a solid drummer, he now shows off his skills for the next 5 – 10 mins. Only having a couple of short stops throughout the entire 3 hrs, he’s definitely one of most durable drummers I’ve ever seen live.

The end of the set comes with a surprise of a Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and Creeping Death Cover. It was good to see them have fun with something other than Machine Head songs and of course the crowd went nuts for it! Closing with Aesthetics of Hate and Halo and the crowd proving that they somehow still have enough energy and voice left to sing the choruses.

This tour is a reminder to fans that Machine Head appreciate them and also that the fans appreciate Machine Head. It acknowledges the band and fans alike in the fact that Robb and the crew wouldn’t be able to travel the world and share their songs without our help. The good thing about Machine Head is that they do Meet and Greets before each show and they, in turn, learn how their music has affected their fans. Machine Head nailed the show and brought home the message that music is a powerful medium. All in all, a damn fine night out.

Review Contributed by Mitch Charlton

Photos by Jose Sanchez