Live Review: Slipknot/Machine Head
Venue: Hammersmith Apollo
Date: 2nd December 2008
I wont be the first to say it, but pantomine season truly kicked off tonight with Slipknot’s second night in residence at the Hammersmith Apollo. Masked horrors, blazing pyrotechnics and some very evil going ons was the order of the night, and I was actually really looking forward to it.
I missed Children of Bodom due to London’s incredibly unreliable transport system, and turned up at the venue to catch the latter part of second support band Machine Head. I don’t mind these guys on record – The Red Album is one of the more impressive outcomes of that whole nu-metal thing, and they’ve always had their finger on the pulse of what is in vogue, if rather shit at actually coming up with anything of their own accord. But they were a massive dissapointment. Frontman Rob Flynn was more interested in throwing drinks out into the crowd, encouraging everyone to “get fucking drunk with the fucking Machine Head!” Naturally, the events were tedious and completely uninteresting to watch, and his macho “FUCK FUCKING FUCK” persona was plain embarrasing. They redeemed themselves somewhat with crowd pleaser ‘Davidian’, and some fully rehearsed stick throwing, but other than that I was completely bored by them.
So, onto the main act. Upon the climax of AC/DC’s ‘For Those About To Rock’ the lights went out, and on stage the nine macabre members of Slipknot hobbled out onto a marvellously conceived stage. Drummer Joey Jordison hovered over his kit, looking like something out of Lord of the Rings with twigs growing out of his arms, and as the shrill introduction of ‘Surfacing’ started tearing through the crowd, the magnificent surge of energy was a sight to behold. For the first three blistering songs I was fourteen again!
But just like the tube service that took me so long to get here, the band seemed to be suffering from a bit of stop start. After these three songs there were breaks in between every other song, the band completely dissapearing (except for Jordison who remained strapped in his chair for the encores now customary drum kit antics). It sucked all the energy out of the show, and the set list didn’t help matters. Despite touring their new album, only two songs got represented. ‘Psychosocial’ relied too much on a far too quiet crowd, and ‘Dead Memories’ was completely out of place, a track that might even struggle to find its place on a Stonesour setlist.
With so much going on, the Apollo’s sound had no chance of keeping up, and as the drums were drowned out by a turgid noise it was almost impossible to make some parts out. The band themselves seemed to struggle, going out of time with eachother and, despite the masks covering their faces, there was a real sense of irritation – something probably taken out on the poor bastard who managed to get on the stage, only to be dragged off.
Despite the fantastic set show, and frantic passion of the “maggots” tonight, something did feel amiss. I had a great time, and hearing rarer tracks from the band’s first album such as ‘Only One’ was a fantastic tribute to the fans. It seemed tonight however the cracks had been glossed over, the rehearsed chaos onstage saying a lot for a band who seem to have become a novelty act. Perhaps they’re getting bored of all this herecy these days…as Corey reminded us, it’s been nearly ten years of pretty much the same thing, and maybe it might be time to lay this one to rest.