Gig Review

Machine Head
Bring Me The Horizon, Devildriver, Darkest Hour
Birmingham, Nia
4th December 2011

Machine Head           Bring Me The Horizon        Devildriver              Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour kick things off this evening with some old school American metalcore. Over the vast number of years of enthusiastic gig attendance the band’s name has cropped up repeatedly, in spite of this I’ve actually never got around to actually checking them out. Finally they’ve crossed my path due to my punctual arrival time and they completely blew me away because they absolutely nailed it. Thick chunky riffs and intricate fills and licks worked over the top of a heavy bass line and bouncy beat, that is right up my street and even the fact that this early on the arena is pretty damn empty doesn’t stifle their efforts. It makes me feel quite stupid for not letting them into my life much sooner than this; being a support act you never normally get this kind of atmosphere not to mention with this kind of low attendance, to take all of this in stride and produce this amount of intensity is a great accomplishment for any band. Should all the bands match or surpass this performance, we’ve got a night set to be one for the ages.

Devildriver raised absolute freaking mayhem, before they even made it to the stage the circle pit was growing. From the intro track to “End of the Line” right through to closer “Clouds over California”, there is no resting period just fully fledged brutality. I’ve admitted to having fears of Devildriver’s live show becoming a bit dull after I last saw them in Wolverhampton with 36 Crazyfists but their presence on the tour and the fact that they’ve managed to perform at a Grade A standard tonight just shows how much of a force they are in the metal genre. It’s only a support slot so there isn't too many songs just 8 of their finest, I’m sure I’m not the only person who found themselves begging for more than we got with the quality of their back catalogue. The only way to characterise the relationship between Dez Fafara and this audience is like a drill sergeant and a band of troops, he says it and they do it, whether its spiralling out of control to “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” or screaming the lyrics to “You Make Me Sick” every person has given 110%, both band and crowd. This marks the finest Devildriver set I’ve witnessed to this day and the bar for the night has been raised, hard to see how anyone’s going to top that.

Bring Me The Horizon from the word go have been placed on the wrong bill, I have some respect for them for embarking on it in full knowledge of the abuse they are about to receive but that’s where it ends. I am a journalist, I have nothing against BMTH or their fans but its not for me, never has been never will be, that being said there is absolutely no reason their fans should enjoy themselves any less nor should people be discouraged from expressing their opinions, for me it made a very interesting atmosphere but I feel for some fans it may’ve been a bit of an awkward set. Whilst not being a fan I am familiar with their music and I feel that the vocals were far from perfect, Jona’s were pretty spot on but Oli’s were not, which made the pairs harmonies a quite far off. I may receive abuse from my peers but I must say that their ability to take and deal with abuse is quite astonishing really especially considering the sheer volume of it they were receiving, even if Mr Sykes may have shown a bit of unprofessional behaviour towards a couple of audience members which is a bit unfair as they did pay 30 odd quid to be here but at the same time they were being arseholes. Oli was quite involved with the crowd mind you getting them to sing along and spending a fair amount of time leaning over the barrier, at the end of the day however the arrogance or the front man and the musical quality means they aren’t getting a great rating off me in comparison to everything else I’ve seen tonight.

Machine Head or should I say Machine Fucking Head as it has been chanted more times than any other expression from history, managed to top what I thought would be the untopable in Devildriver’s performance. Nothing short of perfection here as they give every possible aspect a show could include; emotional expression, headbanging, fist pumping, sing alongs, aggressive moshing, hilarious antics and over all tremendous amounts of pain. If I had to pick a song to which I felt was the most brutal, it would definitely have been “Bulldozer”, when that hit I was simultaneously punched in the face and kicked in the balls, literally, one of the most aggressive mosh pits I have ever been a part of. Now if you asked me what the best song of the night was, for me personally I would pick “Imperium” because it’s my favourite and judging by the reaction it received I’m not alone. Before playing “Darkness Within”, Rob Flynn shows a side that at a live show he’s never shown before, he explains how his emotions about life and touring affects him on a personal level and talks about dark topics involving his life, this definitely helps build a bridge with us lot standing out here. Nothing more needs to be said, absolutely nothing, I’ve left it at perfection and explained everything included; See Machine Head, buy their albums and enjoy corrupting your offspring with it.

Darkest Hour – 4/5
Devildriver - 4.5/5
BMTH – 2/5
Machine Head – 5/5

Review By James Webb

 Machine Head

Robb Flynn
Adam Duce
Dave McClain
Phil Demmel

 Bring Me The Horizon

Oliver Sykes
Lee Malia
Matt Kean
Matt Nicholls
Jona Weinhofen


Dez Fafara
Mike Spreitzer
Jeff Kendrick
John Boecklin

 Darkest Hour

John Henry
Mike Schleibaum
Paul Burnette
Mike Carrigan

 Band Related Links
Machine Head MySpace
Bring Me The Horizon MySpace
Devildriver MySpace
Darkest Hour MySpace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?