Thrash Hits

December 13th, 2011

Live: Machine Head + Bring Me The Horizon @ London Wembley Arena – 03 December 2011

Machine Head 2011 promo photo Thrash Hits

These are certainly exciting times for Machine Head. They managed to follow up The Blackening with an equally stunning record, which penetrated many lists as a highlight of heavy metal in 2011 including our very own Thrash Hits Top 20. Tonight they play Wembley Arena, not as second fiddle to the likes of Metallica or Slipknot, but as headliners in their own right. Hopefully…

Six things we found out when we went to see Machine Head at Wembley:

1) Let’s be honest here – most Devildriver fans would have come anyway to see Machine Head, so in that respect they were a good booking. The more bang for buck, the more bums on seats, so to speak, but it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about a band that have very little substance beyond the hype and epitomise how generic modern metal can be. This isn’t helped by Dez Fafara’s tendency to be very static on stage, and tonight’s performance does little more than just satisfy the die-hards on the front row. And what of Darkest Hour

2) This tour has essentially ruined Machine Head’s chances of headlining a festival and moving up into regular arena tours. No one has ever doubted their ability to headline Brixton Academy or support Metallica at the O2 Arena, but if they want to prove they are ready to become a major league metal band like Slipknot did a few years ago, they need to deliver. With Download Festival booker Andy Copping watching intently from the side of stage and a Facebook campaign, the pressure sure is on for Machine Fuckin’ Head. Sadly, it’s fucking empty in here and there are rumours that this tour has lost promoters a total of £250,000. OUCH.

3) Machine Head are going to be stuck playing to the same 5,000 fans for the rest of their career. To sell 12,000 tickets, the promoters and booking agents really should’ve focused more on the line-up and value for money. Announcing Bring Me The Horizon right from the start was seen as a bold move in the UK but Machine Head tour very regularly with BMTH peers, Suicide Silence across the USA. BMTH don’t sell that many fewer tickets than Machine Head in the UK so would’ve commanded a decent fee in exchange for bringing fans. Sadly, young BMTH fans will be less likely to be able to afford a £30 ticket to see their favourite band playing with Machine Head – a band that hasn’t really translated to a younger audience yet, and won’t ever whilst charging those kinds of prices.

4) Bring Me The Horizon always knew this was going to be a tough tour. It was inevitable they would be getting bottled heavily (even by their standards), though these dates also presented them with a great opportunity – the chance to win over some of their biggest doubters and Machine Head fans are probably only second to Slayer fans in their scepticism toward new music. Luckily, Oliver Sykes is a fucking hero, as exemplified by this incredible quote.

“This song’s called, ‘I’m On Tour With Your Favourite Band So Suck My Fucking Dick.'”

Cue: applause. More, please. More… Anyway, judging by the size of the circle pit at the end of the set, BMTH won over more than their fair share of new fans and toured in luxury. At least it was a success for them.

5) It was all going so well, until at the very end of the set, images of fans looking emotional holding messages like, “Machine Head saved my life” are projected behind the band. Whilst we would never doubt the impact their music has had on people, it’s a bit much for a heavy metal concert and closer to a Michael Jackson level of self-indulgency. Shamone.

6) With seven albums under their belt, Machine Head can play a two-hour set that is absolutely rammed to the rafters with heavy metal anthems. Who can deny the power of ‘Davidian’, after all? Anyone with an average interest in this genre would be familiar with at least half of tonight’s setlist – and that says a lot about how important Machine Head are today.




  • Lord Chief Justice

    I was at the Arena and after arriving late I missed both Darkest Hour and Devildriver. However I did have the misfortune to see BMTH and they were boring beyond belief. However what I also felt was how one paced Machine Head were – it was so samey that I was reduced to counting how many empty seats there were, the same venue which Rammstein filled last year.
    Also noticed how poor the sound was this year compared to Rammstein/Combichrist and yes including fees nearly forty sheets for a ticket was expensive and the other thing for such a Metal loving city the attendance was quite poor. It has to be said that none of the six things listed can be argued and losing 250k on a headline tour is just ridiculous.

  • daveb

    The first time machine headlined brixton in 95 it was half empty too.  The tour was advertised as MH returning to headline the same venues they had supported slayer at previously.  It took a while but after a few more years they could pack out brixton.

    • StooVil666

      Er, what?! That’s total bullshit – I was there 31/05/95 and you’re lying through your teeth. Half empty my arse.

  • Billy Button

    Very good article. However, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Wembley was empty. Yes, not many seats were sold but standing tickets were sold out. Not sure how the other dates sold. It’s a bit of an oddity for Machine Head, they are probably too big for the likes of Brixton now but not big enough for arenas. Still, it was one of the best gigs I’ve been to all year (BMTH were great too shock horror, yes I am a Machine Head fan AND a BMTH fan!) and I hope they end up at either Download or Sonisphere in an elevated position (2nd or 3rd from top or headlining a 2nd stage), which is probably where they will peak. If only Machine Head had written ‘from the ashes..’ after ‘the more things change’, things could have been very different for them in terms of upward trajectory (red album is still decent though, but supercharger save ‘bulldozer’ was dump!). 

  • this reviewer really has a lot to be desired what an appalling review firstly trying to justify negativity towards machine head with rumoured statistics of loss’s with no justification and the point about Wembley being empty it’s a funny fact is a few friends of mine work in the arena and said estimated people that night was 10.25 – 10.5k 

    the worse part about this review is that in no way do you actually assess machine head on the live performance which was fucking immense in my opinion also haha the whole THEY CAN’T HEADLINE A FESTIVAL argument invalid hello wacken , hellfest and various others. 

    oh yeah one more point the smoking areas and foyers were actually over crowded during bmth they were stopping people coming out darkest hour got more of an audience ….but hey I guess another statistic will come and save the day

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