Chris Loomis

Machine Head @ House of Blues Anaheim – 02/22/2020

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Saturday night February 22 is a night Machine Head fans in Anaheim will not soon forget as the band ended their North American Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary tour at House of Blues with a 26 song, 3hr and 20 min rager of a performance. Yes Machine Head has gone through some changes and uncertainty over the last two years with the departure of guitarist Phil Demmel and drummer Dave McClain but the More Things Change, the more they stay the same as Machine Head mastermind Robb Flynn has recruited guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka and drummer Matt Alston who along with Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern continue to be as brutal as ever.

Now along with the current band playing Machine Head favorites, this tour is celebrating 25 years since the release of Machine Head’s debut album Burn My Eyes that has original band members, guitarist Logan Mader and drummer Chris Kontos joining Flynn and MacEachern for a special set playing the entire Burn My Eyes album.

The night commenced promptly at 8:00pm with Ozzy’s “Dairy of a Madman” blasting as the lights went dark and the guitar intro for “Imperium” started and the band appeared onstage as the drums kicked in and Rob Flynn began the madness with a roaring “Hear Me Now” . . . This opened up a giant circle pit that continued all night fueled by Flynn insisting the pit get bigger and more active. For most this was their first time seeing the latest Machine Head lineup and they did not disappoint as Vogg is a bit layed back onstage but rips on his 7-string guitar and drummer Matt Alston is a machine on drums barely ever seeing his face as he is head down blasting away all night.

Now into his 8th year with the band Jared MacEachern is a wildman on bass with his constant headbanging and hair whips. This was a perfect setlist for the first half of the night as highlights included “Take My Scars”, “Aesthetics of Hate” and “Ten Ton Hammer” and Vogg even gave the fans a 10 min guitar solo. “Is There Anybody Out There?” was added in to the set on this night as well which was a nice surprise.

The outspoken Flynn remains one of the finest front men in extreme music handling vocals as well as guitar duties. Strumming an acoustic guitar, he gave a long talk from the heart before the song “Darkness Within”. He even told a story of his first experience smelling the aroma of Marijuana at an AC/DC concert as a teen and how every time he smells it onstage to this day, he is reminded of that fond memory.

The band ended the first set with a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name” then an epic version of “Halo” off The Blackening album. Flynn thanked the fans and stated they would take a ten-minute break then return for the Burn My Eyes celebration.

After a set change that now had the stage decked out with Burn My Eyes themed imagery, the band re-emerged with Logan Mader and Chris Kontos joining Flynn and MacEachern and these four absolutely slayed the metal dragon as they went into “Davidian” and just CRUSHED every song. Kudos to Flynn for playing and singing over 3 hours every night and still being able to deliver a brutal top-notch performance on the last night of the tour.

Logan Mader has a unique stage presence as he slays on guitar shirtless with his long dread-locked hair often jumping around the stage and continuously headbanging. Chris Kontos has a clean, crisp sound as he pounds his kit with razor sharp precision. After “None but My Own” Kontos kicked off a ten-minute drum solo before the band blasted into the next five songs. A medley of metal followed that included some Metallica, Exodus, Slayer and Accept with a bit of White Zombie’s “ThunderKiss 65” thrown in with MacEachern on vocals followed by the last song of the night and the last song off the Burn My Eyes album – an absolutely electrifying and brutal version of “Block” that had the biggest, craziest and most brutal circle pit of the night.

Without a doubt this was the greatest show that House of Blues has seen so far this year and most likely will remain the best show of 2020. Pound for pound, note for note, riff for riff, Machine Head delivered the heaviest, most brutal show imaginable. Every Head Case (Machine Head fan) new and old got more than their money’s worth and left the venue sweaty, tired and content.

Set List:

Imperium | Take My Scars | Now We Die | Beautiful Mourning | Locust | I Am Hell (Sonata in C#) | Aesthetics of Hate | Vogg Guitar Solo | Darkness Within | Catharsis | From This Day | Ten Ton Hammer | Is There Anybody Out There? | Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden cover) | Halo

Davidian | Old | A Thousand Lies | None but My Own | Drum Solo | The Rage to Overcome | Death Church | A Nation on Fire | Blood for Blood | I’m Your God Now | Metallica / Slayer / Exodus / Accept / White Zombie Medley | Block

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