Machine Head 2.12.20 Mercury Ballroom

by Kendra Easterday of Dorcha Saol Photography


On a cold and rainy night in Louisville Kentucky a line slowly starts to form outside the Mercury Ballroom. Seeing a similar theme of leather vests and all black, one can easily identify the doors to a heavy metal show are about to open – their faces ready to be melted by the impeding band. In line you see metal veterans – that almost certainly purchased ‘Burn My Eyes’ when it was released twenty five years ago; alongside kiddos joining dad in the heavy metal tradition. As the doors open the ecstatic super fans claim their spot on the barricade while the rest grab a drink, fueling up for the inevitable mosh pit. As the minutes tick down the electricity in the room intensifies. The sound guy cranks the volume with some old school Metallica and the heads start banging. Right at eight-o-clock the room turns black and the horns start to fly.



Robb Flynn is the first to arrive on stage; greeting the roaring crowd before strumming the first iconic chords of Imperium. Waclaw Kieltyka and Jared MacEachern join next, followed by drummer Matt Alston. Harmoniously, the guitars sing but any true Machine Head Fan would know the chaos that was soon to follow. Flynn shows off his impressive shredding skills before a brief moment of silence and summoning a demand to “see our fists in the fucking air”. Without hesitation, the guitars start shredding and the hair starts flying. The intense energy kept the room alive for the first half of the show. We all knew we were in for three hours of head banging, face melting, and Oakland California metal. But no one knew the surprise Machine Head had in store for us later that night.



Seamlessly flying through hit after hit song, Robb and the guys demanded our attention with calls for more fists in the air and bigger pits. The rain definitely didn’t scare off the fans. The pit during the first half never faltered. After knocking out a crowd favorite “Aesthetics of Hate”, Kieltyka serenaded us with a beautifully brutal solo – mercifully using a wah-wah pedal while holding his Washburn Custom Dime in the air. If anyone had lost their attention to the stage it was quickly brought back.



The relentless shredding, double bass, and robust vocals continued through the night. At one point Flynn asked all the ladies to scream. Only a very few higher pitched screams came from the crown. Following the ladies screams, he summoned the men to roar. If the paint wasn’t already flying off the walls from the music, the massive manly roar that emitted from the crowd surly did the trick. Sorry fellas: if you’re hoping to meet that special lady at an upcoming Machine Head show you’re probably shit out of luck.



Ending act one with “Halo” we are commanded by the band to “take a piss, smoke a joint, and grab a beer” because a very special second half featuring a full set of their album Burn My Eyes from front to back was coming our way in ten minutes.



As the lights went down signaling the start of the second half, the crowd received a much unexpected surprise. Most knew it was the twenty fifth anniversary of the release of Burn My Eyes. What we didn’t know was there were some surprise guests. Robb came out ready for 90 more minutes of seeing what Louisville has to offer. The already pumped crowd lost their damn minds when he and Jared are joined on stage by former band mates Logan Mader and Chris Kontos. In true NuMetal fashion the three front men are shirtless. If the one percent of women in the crown weren’t paying attention earlier – they were now. Burn My Eyes wasn’t played from top to bottom in the typical way an album set is played. Machine Head mixed it up keeping the fans on their toes and excited for more. Half way through, Chris Kontos blew our fucking heads off with an intense double bass filled solo. For the encore we were treated to a medley of covers featuring: Welcome Home, One, Motorbreath, Strike the Beast, Thunder Kiss ’65, South of Heaven, and Raining Blood. This was immediately followed by a “Dime Bag” chant emanating from the crowd. Finishing out the amazing night “Block” was played. At its conclusion; picks, set lists, and sticks were launched to an eager crowd. A selfie with the crowd was taken and the lights came on.



Machine Head created the perfect one artist show. Thrilling us with a mixed up setlist in the first half, then fulfilling us with a complete play through of their very first album Burn My Eyes. If you are lucky enough to be in one of the six remaining cities, I highly suggest checking this tour out. You’ll never again be lucky enough to get your face melted for 3 hours by two variations of Machine Head present and past.


02/18 – Denver, CO @ The Gothic Theatre
02/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
02/21 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
02/22 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues



SET 1 (w/ current line-up)



Take My Scars

Now We Die

Beautiful Mourning


I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)

Aesthetics of Hate

Guitar Solo

Darkness Within


From This Day

Ten Ton Hammer

Is There Anybody Out There?


SET 2 – Burn My Eyes (w/ classic line-up)


Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies



A Thousand Lies

None but My Own

Drum Solo

The Rage to Overcome

Death Church

A Nation on Fire

Blood for Blood

I’m Your God Now

Medley – Welcome Home/One/Motorbreath/Strike of the Beast/Thunder Kiss ’65/South of Heaven/Raining Blood


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