HELLYEAH & Machine Head, The Grove, Anaheim
Wed, 27 Feb 2008 14:07:39
Halfway through Machine Head's set at The Grove in Anaheim, frontman Robb Flynn made an important statement. "It doesn't matter if we're having a great time," he proclaimed. "Are you fuckers having a great time?" With that, the packed crowd of metal heads let out one of the loudest roars of the evening. Fun was the theme at the heart of Machine Head's jaunt, as direct support for HELLYEAH—properly named the "More Balls, More Volume, More Strength" tour. As Machine Head ripped through live favorites like "Old" and "Ten Ton Hammer," Flynn was all smiles. He's got every reason to be smiling right now. Even though Machine Head were robbed of the Grammy for best metal performance, the band's latest offering, The Blackening, is one of the most powerful heavy music releases of this century, and as evinced by The Grove show, they still absolutely kill it live.
Their set proved a balanced mixture of old and new material. Unleashing "Imperium" first, the band took no prisoners. Flynn traded riffs and leads with guitarist Phil Demmel seamlessly, and Dave McClain pounded his kit to hell and back. Cuts from The Blackening, "Aesthetics of Hate" and "Now I Lay Thee Down" sounded tense, angry, pure and honest. Flynn delivers each lyric with a brutal inflection that's both haunting and catchy. He also effortlessly pulls off each of the band's technical riffs, while singing and screaming. Before launching into "Halo," Flynn stated, "That song is Vinnie Paul's favorite in our set." With good reason, it remains one of the most diverse and engaging tracks the band has ever cut. By the final, pummeling roar of "Davidian," one thing was clear, Machine Head aren't going anywhere. Thank God for that.
HELLYEAH also kept the party going. In fact, they proved the perfect compliment to Machine Head. Whereas Machine Head played vitriolic, epic thrash, HELLYEAH revived bombastic, old-school heavy metal. They also hit the stage with a singular purpose, complete destruction. Two songs into their blistering hour-plus musical assualt, HELLYEAH frontman, Chad Gray, announced, "We put this band together to go around the world and get drunk with our fucking friends!" Sounds like a good enough reason, especially when tracks like "Matter of Time" and "Nausea" bludgeon as much as they do. Gray stalks the stage with a primal intensity. Each scream resonated, and he jumped off the drum riser, dove toward the crowd and lived every moment up to its fullest. Not only is Gray an intense performer, but he's also an artist. The lyrics for the more introspective fare, "Thank You" and "Star," proved both engaging and poignant. Delivered live with Gray's signature sound, everything simply clicked.
Another display of guitar fireworks came from HELLYEAH's axe duo, Tom Maxwell and Greg Tribbett, who ripped it up on "Waging War" and "One Thing." They channeled a heavy groove, while tossing in some tasty leads. Vinnie Paul commanded as much attention as ever. His legendary double bass transformed the band's cover of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" and elevated set closer "Hellyeah" to blistering heights.
At the end of the night, Flynn got his answer. The crowd walked out thrilled about how great the show was.