Gig Review: Machine Head Electric Happy Hour – The Garage, Glasgow (31st August 2022)

So you announce an arena tour with another major act and for some reason your booking agent misses out an entire half of a country. What do you do? If you’re Machine Head you pick five intimate venues in the ignored region and kick off a mini-tour with no support, playing a random set every night. Because, hey… rock and roll, right?

(c) Lowrey Photography

After their first gig in 2 1/2 years being a surprise set at Bloodstock, Glasgow saw their first actual tour date and first show as a four-piece. What song from your back catalogue do you pick out to open on such an important occasion? Ten albums to pick from, so it’s a tricky choice. Yeah, you go with “Creeping Death”.

What other major band opens a set with a cover version? I honestly can’t remember any gig I’ve been to kicking off in such a manner. So much so that I had to climb over some heads and get in an early crowdsurf. After all, you can’t do it at a Metallica gig any more, not unless you want to get chucked out of the arena you’re in and waste the £200 or so you probably spent on a ticket. Thing is, this suited the evening being as it was a travelling version of Machine Head’s online Electric Happy Hour – a show where they drink beer and jam out tunes they want to play and that are requested. As such, no set list so who knows what the other cities are going to get!

Flynn and his merry band shotgunned the entire back catalogue, picking a track here and there from eight different albums (including three from their incredible new release ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN which went down very well). Supercharger and Catharsis on this occasion didn’t make the cut, even with a near 2-hour set. A set which was essentially non-stop. No big encore break, no gimmicks, no silly games. Just balls out, beer-drinking, circle pit-inducing heavy metal.

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Look, it’s a Machine Head gig. You know what to expect and they always deliver, so let me change focus for a bit and give a shout out to the sold out crowd. It was great to see old Moshville Times colleague Ross (better known to you all as Pit Troll) for the first time in longer than I can remember. As always he was chucking people over other people’s heads when he wasn’t busy going for a surf himself. To everyone I slammed into, bounced off, circle-pitted with, hugged, high-fived and headbanged alongside… thank you!

(c) Lowrey Photography

I have to mention the roving photographer / videographer who I assume was with the band. This guy was mad. Lugging what was definitely a few hundred quids’ worth of camera, lens and microphone, he was off to the side, in the middle of the pit, on Pit Troll’s shoulders and even crowdsurfing. I really can’t wait to see his footage!

The chap who I gave the second bass pick I found to, you’re very welcome! Worth handing it over to see your reaction. I shall treasure the memory of the big sloppy kiss on the cheek forever. And the guy who thanked me for stopping him getting clonked on the head by footwear attached to crowdsurfers a few times, in the words of the great Tom Araya, “That’s what we’re here to do – help each other out.”

To the guy in the front row who was getting pissed off with people continually surfing over his head, and who gave me the finger when I tried to shake his hand: poor form, dude. If you can’t stand the heat, etc. No hard feelings, though. If you see me at another gig, come and say hi. I’ll buy you a beer.

Other than that, and the laying to rest of my very comfortable and broken in boots (the sole came off), this was about as perfect a gig as I’ve ever been to. Machine Head never fail to put on a great show. They don’t have the stage show of Sabaton, the laughs of Bowling For Soup or the latex of GWAR. They do have a lot of haters (not as many as Alestorm these days, though, for some reason), but there’s a Garage-full of fans who’d argue their case. I defy you to find me a band who can top them in terms of putting on two, on some occasions three, hours of sheer all-out heavy metal.

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Pictures by Lowrey Photography

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October 28, 2022 2:11 PM

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