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Live Review: Machine Head

25 July 2018 | 5:02 pm | Karen Lowe

"We are not playing the arena like Katy Perry but we've got some mad fucking fans and that's what we live for!"

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A sea of black shirts and chants of "Machine Fucking Head" filled the Astor Theatre last night and an under-torrent of excitement bubbled away as strangers chatted with their neighbour about the night ahead. As the lights went out, that excitement grew as
Machine Head
stepped out on stage.

Taking no prisoners, they immediately whipped the crowd into a frenzy as they opened with Imperium, Volatile and Now We Die with a circle pit starting from the very first song. "Western Australia! Are you ready to lose your fucking minds?" lead singer Robb Flynn asked the audience.

They also played The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears ("Perth! I wanna see you lose your fucking minds!"), Take My Scars and Clenching The Fists Of Dissent before they walked off stage for a breather (for everyone) and we were treated to a guitar solo from Phil Demmel.

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"Machine Head will always come to Perth, of course, because we know that you appreciate it and that you are hungry for it. We are all connected to this violent music that doesn't make sense to anyone else but in this room! We are not playing the arena like Katy Perry but we've got some mad fucking fans and that's what we live for!" — and the crowd erupted.

They played song after song including Darkness Within, Catharsis, Locust, Bulldozer, a drum solo from Dave McClain and Descend The Shades Of Night. The mosh would break out into a circle pit every few songs, to the point where someone was even bleeding after knocking heads with another headbanger jumping in the mosh. They teased us with a quick cover of Metallica's One and dedicated Aesthetics Of Hate to Dimebag Darrell and the audience screamed his name.

They finished their set with Game Over, Old and Halo. "Wow! There's some bad motherfuckers out there and we appreciate every single one of you!" Flynn said. "Especially Western Australia! There are girls at our show — 60, 70 of you and not the usual six that we have back home! This has been a fucking amazing show! Thank you for making this the best end to the tour!"

The amount of energy in the room was undeniable, though one did wonder if everyone there was going to last the night. But just as you felt that you would die, Machine Head would either walk off for a brief moment; play a slow song or Flynn would speak to the audience. After 27 years, they have their performance down to a fine art and controlled our emotions like we were puppets on strings.

Flynn was right with what he said. It's violent music that so many people are afraid of. An outsider will not understand the aggression of the pit or see that everyone there looks out for each other. They won't attend a show like this and they will never know the feeling of satisfaction that we all have as we walk out of a show like this; aggression spent, the knowledge that our necks and heads will be sore tomorrow, but our hearts filled with joy and ready to face whatever is thrown at us. This is what we live for.