If the CRHA compiled a list of bands most likely to cause permanent hearing loss and temporary insanity, Machinehead would fall somewhere near the top, between the likes of Pantera and Slayer.
This was zealously demonstrated last Thursday night at MacEwan Hall Ballroom, when the near-capacity crowd was treated to a solid hour of sickeningly loud metal.
Machinehead took the stage while the eerie sound of gothic chanting echoed in the large room. Playing a Pantera meets Rage Against the Machine style of metal,
Machinehead soon transformed the audience into something resembling a bunch of rabid badgers.
Be it the alcohol or the music, you’d be hard pressed to find a bunch of people so intent on stomping each other into the ground.
Even frontman Rob Flynn yelled with an almost amazed quality to his voice, "I’ve never knew Calgary had this many rowdy motherfuckers! I don’t know why it took us so long to come to your town!" This was greeted by cheers and "devil’s horns" (the universal symbol of the banger) and only made the audience mosh harder. The only thing that came close to matching the intensity of the audience was the sheer loudness of the show.
Aided by two stacks of Marshall amps, Machinehead played potentially the loudest show the Ballroom has ever heard. For an idea of how loud it was, take the sound from a typical 747 takeoff, add the loudest concert you’ve ever been to, and multiply tenfold. Simply put, those at the front of the stage not wearing earplugs could not have escaped with out some degree of permanent hearing loss.
As far as the band’s performance goes, if Machinehead put any more intensity into the show, the Ballroom would most likely be undergoing early renovations. Stopping only to spray the audience with beer and to make the usual rock star comments such as, "I know what the fuck you like Calgary… you like it heavy!" Machinehead played for a good hour, banging their heads the whole way through.
They stuck mostly to material from their latest album, The Burning Red , they also played older favourites like "Struck a Nerve" from The More Things Change and the title track off Burn My Eyes .
Machinehead also jokingly played a few covers, but this only made them look like they had run out of banter.
Loud and hard, Machinehead put on an excellent performance that not only showed how loud they could play, but also demonstrated their ability to manipulate an audience. If this show proved one thing it was that metal still has a firm hold in a punk rock dominated town. Just next time around don’t forget the earplugs.