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Machine Head, 21st June 2024, Helviti, Copenhell Festival, Denmark

Machine Head, 21st June 2024, Helviti, Copenhell Festival, Denmark
  • 8/10
    Machine Head - 8/10

Photo: Goran

Some decade ago Robb Flynn decided that Machine Head will not be playing festivals anymore because he didn’t really like them. But then something happened, and Machine Head recently started playing festivals again. Is it the fact that festivals have become big portion of many artist’s income or did Flynn simply wanted to give it another go? Who can tell? The fact is that machine Head were booked as one of four headliners at this year’s Copenhell, which seems odd. The band has never really been a massive festival headliner so it was going to be interesting if they would be able to live up to the challenge. And it is a big challenge, because headliners often sell tickets and have this broader across-genre appeal to them. Machine Head doesn’t have that appeal, but this is a Heavy Metal festival, so perhaps…?

Much like so many times before Machine Head opened with “Imperium” and already from the start it was clear that there was something different about this performance. Machine Head was never a big pyrotechnics and props kind of band, but the band has taken their headliner role seriously, knowing that such elements can play a big role. So throughout the show the band served endless line of pyro, smoke cannons, confetti and even something so festival as balloons. Those often come across lame and have more of a entertaining quality of an amusement park, but hell everyone is doing it these days. It just seems ironic that the band who was so against festivals is going with balloons of all things.

Oh well, back to the music, because the band really did deliver on that level as well, serving up a good best-of setlist with couple of cleverly chosen songs from the latest album Of Kingdom and Crown. Despite only playing 11 songs they did get around to playing something off of all albums except Bloodstone & Diamonds and, perhaps understandably Catharsis.

One of the unlikely highlights came in form of “From This Day”, which with its simple beat really picked up the crowd in that almost Limp Bizkit fashion. Good effect for a festival show.

There was also room for a short guitar solo, curtesy of new guitarist Reece Alan Shruggs. Fortunately, he kept it short and he otherwise did his job well as did drummer Matt Alston, with has been with the band for some five years now.

Flynn did his best Flynn thing and we all know that simply does work. He also gave a heartfelt speech with a important positive message before appropriately starting “Darkness Within” from 2011’s Unto The Locust. His clean singing in those mellow parts of several songs came across at thin and lacked some more beef to it, but he generally did very well.

Throughout the show Flynn did his best to keep the crowd in palm of his hand and he actually succeeded in that, despite the task at hand being a massive one, and despite the rain and cold which steeped across Copenhell..
Machine Head didn’t really play a better show than they normally do, but they truly did impress by upping their game in order to deliver a show worthy of a major festival headliner. And that also craved balloons, then by all means, bring out the balloons.

Few years ago, Flynn passed the golden opportunity to take a new start with his old band. When long-time members Dave McClain and Phil Demmel left the band and Machine Head was hitting the road to celebrate 25-year anniversary of their debut Burn My Eyes, Flynn didn’t take the opportunity to bring back that original line-up. Instead, he took two bands on tour with him – one with couple of original members who played Burn My Eyes-record and couple of new guys who played the rest of the show. Such an odd concept, but even that worked quite well.

So, the lesion is – Flynn does hits bumps along the way, he makes mistakes along the way, but somehow, he always manages to rise back and bring Machine Head where it deserves to be. This evening in Copenhagen, Flynn and Machine Head rose to the challenge of stepping up to being a festival headliner and along the way made this 13th show, yours truly has seen with Machine Head, unlike any of the other 12 shows. Hats off, gentlemen.


  1. Imperium
  2. Ten Ton Hammer
  3. Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate
  4. Locust
  5. Is There Anybody Out There
  6. No Gods, No Masters
  7. Darkness Within
  8. Bulldozer
  9. From This Day
  10. Davidian
  11. Halo
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