By KITCHANA LERSAKVANITCHAKUL
Veteran metal act Machine Head thrills Bangkok fans.
Anyone passing the Centrepoint Studio in Bang Na’s Soi Lasalle last Wednesday night might have been surprised to see more than 3,000 Thais and foreigners clad all in black standing in an orderly queue. Despite the attire, the mood was far from sombre and the excitement contagious as the doors finally opened to let fans into the Bangkok stop on Machine Head’s tour.
The metal heads included several members of well-known Thai hard rock bands such as Ebola, Retrospect, Sweet Mullet, System Sucker, Brandnew Sunset, Dezember, Blackhead, Kitti Guitar Gun and the Must.
Yet for all their eagerness, a surprisingly high number of fans were still hanging out with a beer outside the venue when the first bars rang out. Most chose to ignore it, thinking it was the opening act, but the organiser quickly put things right by yelling through the PA that Machine Head was already on stage.
This was the band’s first gig in Thailand and the wait was worth it, though 21 years – Machine Head released its first album “Burn My Eyes” back in 1994 – seems an indecent length of time given their following here.
But for two and half hours, the band totally belonged to Bangkok, blasting their way through 21 songs spanning the entirety of their career.
Guitarist and vocalist Rob Flynn, guitarist Phil Demmel, bassist Jared MacEachern and drummer Dave McClaim kicked off in high gear, blowing fans’ minds with “Imperium” and “Beautiful Mourning”.
They then segued into a selection of tracks from their new album “Bloodstone and Diamonds”, among them “Now We Die”, “Beneath the Silt”, “Killers and Kings”, and “Game Over”.
“I tell you what, my friends, what I’m taking on this journey – 21 years of our band. For Phil [Demmel], it’s a welcome return after 16 years away,” Flynn told the crowd before shouting for everyone to jump on “Locust”.
The band’s performance was incredibly high powered and energetic given that the four are rapidly approaching middle age. The crowd happily surfed a surging sea of metal passion and joy, feeding that energy right back to the band especially on such standout numbers as “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” and “Bulldozer”.
“We feel so welcome in your country,” Flynn said, as he twanged a chord.
“We just put out a record called ‘Bloodstone and Diamonds’. Everybody here got it? This is our very first time ever in Thailand, our first time ever on this side of the world. What an amazing experience! Last night, we drove round some of the city in a tuk tuk.
“It is crazy that playing music, playing metal, playing something that’s way outside the mainstream can take us this far away, to this amazing country. And that is the power of music. It can transcend everything. It’s amazing that we can make music where we live and somehow you guys can get turned on to it and we can have this experience,” he continued.
“We’re so grateful to be able to do this because we need to do this. We need to play this music, it gets all this s**t out of us, helps us make sense of this world. I think that I might be able to speak for everyone in here because when music hits that perfect moment, when you’re at a live show, it can take you to a place that you didn’t even know you had inside you. You need it too, don’t you Bangkok?”
Flynn then shouted for the audience to sing the lyrics of “Darkness Within” and followed with “Davidian”, “Block” and “Descent the Shades of Night” before wrapping up with “Game Over” and “Halo”.