Machine Head @ Glasgow 02 Academy

Spread the metal:

Machine Head

Glasgow 02 Academy

December 13th 2014

Review by Ritchie Birnie

Pics by Gavin Lowrey

Machine Head


Can you believe Machine Head have been on the go for 23 years? No matter what genre of rock/metal you follow you know who they are. Even the haters recognise the input to metal these guys have made. They have trodden a lot of boards since Burn my eyes hit the scene during the grunge era. This is one of the bands that shook up the establishment and got us away from that whiny, sad MTV period and for that I thank them from the bottom of my Heart.

It may have meant less rock/metal on TV but I get a bit uncomfortable when our music gets too popular. A bit like a good thief. its best kept with a low profile. Who cares if its not on radio or TV? Definitely not Machine Head. They have burned their path regardless and built a following and a reputation without any of that crap and in return they are tattooed down the spine of metal forever.

Why is this band ‘Darkest Hour’ not bigger? They have been on the go since 1995 but things just haven’t gone on to the next stage for them. Numerous personnel changes over the years may not have helped but things are starting to look a bit settled.


They now have a decent record label (Sumerian) pushing their most recent self titled album. I cant believe they are now up to album number eight. I hope that the tide is turning and going by the crowd tonight it could well be. This tour has taken them across Europe so lets hope the fan base extends and we see them touring on their own two feet.

Darkest Hour

With the amount of material they have there is no issue pulling out the stops to fill their short set. Every one a gem with the outstanding with a thousand words to finish it’s a great way to bow out( no going out with a whimper here). A great companion band for the headliners and the influence of their hero Dimebag is very evident. Keep it going lads you can take this to the next level.


  • Wasteland
  • Rapture in Exile
  • Savor the Kill
  • Anti-Axis
  • Lost for Life
  • The Sadist Nation
  • With a Thousand Words to Say but One

The amps burst into life with the soundtrack from Good, bad and the ugly, we know what is up next. What I didn’t expect was a 2 hour 15 minute set. The dry ice bellows,  the stage disappears in a misty haze. A two headed beast with axes of v emerge in a halo of smoke and the crowd go wild. Let the carnage begin.

Machine Head

Imperium kicks things off in style. The medieval stage set and lights fit perfectly with the show and mean you have all the senses being battered into submission from the outset. What you have to love about this band is the down to earth nature and the love of all things metal( that includes the fans), They have time to talk, to thank everyone, to care.

Machine Head

In a very short time I have heard Glasgow/Glaswegian mentioned so many times its like watching the commonwealth games again. I imagine a pre show Robb Flynn pacing back and forward, hands on temples chanting to himself….we are in Glasgow, we are in Glasgow, we are in Glasgow. It may not seem like much but it means a lot to the fans( and it doesn’t go down well if you get it wrong). This is a band of the people. We have put them where they are and they are grateful. They realise this and play their ass of in return. A completely humble lot.

Machine Head

We fly breathlessly through the next three songs and hit on one of my favourite tracks, locust. The delicate intro leading into thumping drums and full force into the song. It’s the textures of dark and light that make this so good live. From this day may be from the not so popular rap era but it works well live as does ten ton hammer. We get a new track in Ghosts will haunt my bones. Heavy riffage made for the stage.

Machine Head

Out comes the acoustic( I wonder what track this could be). As always Rob has a little chat with the crowd. He goes back in time and talks about the first time they played Glasgow supporting Slayer. They didn’t get a good response( but to be fair guys this is the gauntlet you run when a support band in Glasgow. I remember one of the funniest sites I have ever seen at a show. The band Tank were supporting Motorhead in the hallowed ground of the Glasgow Apollo and got shouted off after 3 songs.

On the way off stage the drummer threw in his drumsticks…only to see them being hurled back at him instantaneously. It could have been worse Rob, much worse). Darkness within shows off Rob’s vocal range. A great song live or on record.

Machine Head

Its head down and 3 songs on we hit Davidian with a vengeance. Both Flying Vs……flying of course. This song never gets old live…..and the circle pits never get calmer. Time for some atmosphere and we get the full length 8 minute Sail into the black. During the quieter moments I scan the crowd, the intensity to the dips and intricacies of the songs. The reaction of the crowd and then I realise the majority here are younger than the span of this bands carer. A real accomplishment to their talent and longevity.

Machine Head

We stop off at Aesthetics of hate for a tip of the hat and thanks to the legend that was(is) Dimebag. We get to Game over and old then its time for the guys to leave the stage. I check my watch and am shocked at how long they have done already……and with an encore to go and what an encore. I can safely say I have never heard flower of Scotland or we are the champions played like this. The fans are going mental. How can we possibly take this any further? Oh that’s right, lets have a bit of halo.

Machine Head

What a show. Thank you for what you have done for metal, thank you for still being here producing new music and kicking our ass live and more importantly thank you for appreciating who we are and long may you continue to reign.


  • Imperium
  • Beautiful Mourning
  • Now We Die
  • Bite the Bullet
  • Locust
  • From This Day
  • Ten Ton Hammer
  • Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones
  • Darkness Within
  • Bulldozer
  • Killers & Kings
  • Davidian
  • Sail Into the Black
  • Now I Lay Thee Down
  • Aesthetics of Hate
  • (Dedicated to Dimebag)
  • Game Over
  • Old
  • Encore:
  • Flower of Scotland
  • We Are the Champions (Queen cover)
  • Halo