Gig Reviews

Machine Head crushes Tokyo

Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn
Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn of Machine Head / Photo: Mikio Ariga

“An Evening with Machine Head” is two and a half hours of mayhem, crushing riffs and metal anthems. What a treat! It is a sensationally great heavy metal evening with Robb Flynn leading his band and their Japanese Head Cases (as Machine Head’s fans are known) in a non-stop metal celebration of Machine Head’s career at Tsutaya O-East in Tokyo on 6th July.

The Bay Area metal titans are this evening so good it hurts. Even before the band appears on stage at Tsutaya O-East in Tokyo, the venue is boiling over. Once the gig gets going, Robb Flynn and his Machine Head give us a knockout performance. They open with “Imperium” from 2003’s album “Through the Ashes of Empires”. Explosive stuff. I don’t think I ever have experienced such a knockout start to a gig. Wow! The sold-out venue goes fucking bananas. And it doesn’t stop. The energy onstage and in the audience is unbelievable. The batteries never run out. Not for the band and not for the audience.

Machine Head onstage in Tokyo.
Machine Head onstage in Tokyo / Photo: Mikio Ariga

The terrific set list this evening has songs from all of the band’s eight studio albums. We get the classics as well as four songs from the band’s latest album, “Bloodstone & Diamonds”, which was released in November 2014. It all works brilliantly and highlights that this is a band that constantly delivers, both with its albums and its gigs around the world.

The band finishes a great night with the classic “Halo”. Bloody hell! This evening with California’s metal titans is heavy, angry, loud and bloody, bloody good. A few times during the gig, the unbelievable response from the Tokyo audience really gets to Flynn. He just stands there on stage smiling while the audience keeps going.

Japanese efficiency ensured that this Tokyo gig which suddenly got cancelled due to Flynn’s ear infection (which landed him in a Kuala Lumpur hospital en route to Tokyo) swiftly got rescheduled four days later. On their first visit to Japan in five years, a venue packed with Head Cases shows Flynn and the band how much they are loved in Japan. I guess it won’t be another five years until we see them here in Japan again.

A few months ago, Machine Head filmed a couple of gigs in Los Angeles and San Francisco for a planned concert DVD. If those gigs were anything close to what we got here in Tokyo, that DVD will be something very special to add to the collection.

Machine Head onstage in Tokyo.
Machine Head onstage in Tokyo / Photo: Mikio Ariga

Machine Head – band members

Robb Flynn – lead vocals, guitar

Phil Demmel – guitar, backing vocals

Jared MacEachern – bass, backing vocals

Dave McClain – drums

Set list – An Evening with Machine Head – Tsutaya O-East, Tokyo 6th July 2015

  1. Imperium
  2. Beautiful Mourning
  3. Now We Die
  4. Bite the Bullet
  5. Locust
  6. From This Day
  7. Ten Ton Hammer
  8. This Is the End
  9. Beneath the Silt
  10. The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears
  11. A Thousand Lies
  12. Darkness Within
  13. Bulldozer
  14. Killers & Kings
  15. Davidian
  16. Descend the Shades of Night
  17. Now I Lay Thee Down
  18. Aesthetics of Hate
  19. Game Over
  20. Block
  21. Halo /

Robb Flynn of Machine Head.
Robb Flynn of Machine Head / Photo: Mikio Ariga