Wednesday, October 24th, was a doozy of a night for me. It was my first concert to review and photograph SOLO. My first assignment? Machine Head, Stonecutters, and Judgement. All things considered, I believe it was definitely a fun assignment. And with that thought, I took off from good ‘ol Owensboro, Kentucky, and made my way to Headliners, in Louisville.
Be sure and check out my photo gallery here.
Judgement opened the show with a bang. This appeared to be one of their biggest nights, opening up for Machine Head, and I couldn’t agree more. They brought a lot of energy to the table, despite the fact there was little to no room for them to move around on stage. Grins from each of the bands’ members could be seen the second they took stage.
Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Judgement had a distinct sound of their own, incorporating elements of thrash metal and death metal. Nate Wright, the big fellow on guitar, was visibly excited, and enjoyed his time on stage. He enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he actually knocked his glasses off his face while jumping around and rocking out.
Next, Stonecutters took the stage. These guys looked and acted like veterans of the road, and they certainly played like it too. The show happened to be a hometown show, since they are rooted in Louisville. Being the second opener to none other than Machine Head is no easy feat, and they took charge like pros.
The band continued to amp up the crowd, egging on the excitement for the headliner. All throughout the banter, the band enjoyed their time on stage, and debuted a new song. I forgot the name of the song, as it was quite a long night, but I was impressed and the crowd enjoyed it too.
Finally, Machine Head was due to play. They came on stage much later than anticipated, as there had been several technical issues beforehand. Adam Duce (bassist) had been having issues with his bass guitars and equipment, and he had to run out around town to pick up some new equipment.
Once the band took stage, they kicked off in high gear with This Is The End. No sooner than the first note rang out, the crowd rushed the barricade and just broke out in headbanging. The excitement was in the air as the band pounded it out, giving the crowd what they came for. Up next, was Imperium. Clearly, the fans knew the song by heart, as they broke out singing the chorus. Robb Flynn was bouncing around stage, pumping his fist into the air for the fans, while Phil Demmel battled him on guitar.
The crowd and band both exhibited more and more raw energy with each song being played. Beautiful Mourning broke the crowd into an uproar, and the band fed off the energy! Side by side, these guys were having a blast entertaining the crowd of around 300. Beat by thunderous beat, Machine Head brought us the meaning of heavy metal! The powerful song Locust and Aesthetics of Hate were played back to back, to give the fans a live taste from their critically-acclaimed albums The Blackening and Unto the Locust. With each song, the tremendous and raw power of the crowd could be felt, with the headbanging becoming raucous and the jumping thundering the venue like an earthquake.
Following those two cuts, they played a classic fan favorite song from their album Burn My Eyes called Old. The crowd continued to get pumped up, and just banged their heads like the world was ending that night. The energy didn’t dissipate despite the barrage of technical difficulties before the kickoff of the next song. As Robb was setting up for Darkness Within, his acoustic guitar would not play over the sound system. During the 10 minutes of attempting to get it to work, Robb cut up with the crowd, and suggested that maybe he should play some Tenacious D or some Slayer, or maybe even a little bit of Kansas. Finally, he decided that he’ll just attempt to compensate for the lack of acoustic on his electric, and broke out with a little bit of Slayer before starting the song. Darkness Within, a cut off their latest album Unto the Locust, was met with considerable fanfare. The crowd once again started singing with the band, and just gave the band more and more energy.
Two more classic cuts, Bulldozer and Ten Ton Hammer brought the venue to its knees. The band, now more than into their groove, egged on the crowd to start jumping around and moshing. The high-octane entertainment was right on the money, and nailed things out perfectly. Finally, Machine Head’s set was cut short after their next song. Another fan favorite, Halo, was the perfect song to end on. The fans, now more into it than ever, were headbanging with new-found fervor. As the song ended and they began what was to be their next song of the set, the audio system had been cut off. For a good minute or two, the band continued to jam and party it up on stage, trying to get the crowd into it, and seemed very confused as to why everyone was hollering at them, until they had been notified that they were 20 minutes past curfew, which required them to end the show. As Robb was exiting the stage, he stopped to yell as loudly as he could to thank the fans for being there, and that they wouldn’t be there today without them.
All in all, it was an absolutely fun concert to attend and photograph. The pure energy that they showcased for a relatively small crowd was admirable and humbling. The next time Machine Head come around, I’m definitely making it a point to attend again.