at Tavastia Club, Helsinki, Finland, November 5 & 6, 2004

Mighty Machine Head took over the Tavastia Club on November 5th and 6th, 2004. The young German band Caliban and seasoned veterans God Forbid were also taken along for a ride, and what a ride it was! The energy of a Machine Head crowd is hard to match. The floor was filled with moshing, sweaty bodies, and raised fists on both nights, of which the second was sold out.

There should have been mention on the tickets of the early starting time, since the first band started as early as 21:30:00 at a club where the faithful are more customary to the bands starting around 23:00:00 at the earliest. Because of this, many fans unnecessarily missed the opening bands.

Caliban and God Forbid took turns at opening: Caliban opened on Friday and God Forbid opened the show on Saturday. Friday’s crowd was really enthusiastic and hungry for live music. Between the songs during the God Forbid (GF) set, the crowd kept chanting the band’s name. This really touched GF singer Byron. Overall GF’s set was tighter on Friday and there seemed to be more of GF’s own fans in attendance on Friday than on Saturday. GF did get the crowd easily to participate on the f**k George Bush chant on both nights. It really showed that GF has a lot of mileage under their belts since the whole band’s stage presence was commanding attention and they hold that attention well. Singer Bryron, with his sturdy frame, bass player John with his height, and guitarist Doc with his shaven head were all an impressive sight, which only added to their dark and heavy Thrash-influenced Metal.

Caliban, on the other hand, seemed a bit lost, and the main focus was left for the singer Andy to carry, which he did his best to master with his stage moves … at least he looked good with his constant jerky movements. The rest of the band did not make contact with the crowd, but concentrated on their playing instead.

Machine Head (MH) was good on Friday and excellent on Saturday. The main frame of the set was the same on both nights, with “Imperium” as the opener, and the set of covers, although different for both nights, as the encore closer. It seemed that MH used Friday as a warm up and excelled on Saturday. Friday’s mosh pit was more insane than Saturday’s sold out crowd, but on Saturday the punters were climbing on walls just to get a better look. Since Saturday was sold out, there seemed to be less room to move about on the tightly packet floor. The whole floor, with the crowd’s arms raised was a sight to be seen!

The whole band seemed to be in good spirits and in fine shape. If at all possible, they seemed tighter and somehow more at ease than on their previous visits to these shores. As usual, there were a line of vodka colas on the drum riser, from which Rob sipped occasionally and usually ended up throwing the cup to the audience after only one sip. The “new” guy, Phil Demmel, seems to have grown into his role as the lead guitarist and could be seen happily singing along, pulling faces and interacting constantly with the crowd. It seemed like the audience and Phil were successfully feeding off of each other’s energy.

Saturday’s set introduced “Stuck A Nerve” back into the set, from which it had been missing for the last 6 years. “Rage Overcome” was also played. We also got to hear the full version of “Descend The Shades Of Night”. The main set ended with “Davidian,” without which no Machine Head show can be complete. Let freedom ring with the shotgun blast!

Rob amused the crowd with his comments on the punters behavior. One enthusiastic crowd surfer got asked if he maybe learned how to crowd surf from a Pearl Jam video, since he was doing it without the music being played. The lighters came out on both nights for the “The Burning Red,” and the crowd and band were given a small breather. The slower parts on the songs on the latest album made more sense after witnessing the insane mosh pit action.

The encore cover set seemed longer on Saturday when we got to hear full version of “Roots,” ” Ride the Lightning,” “Block,” and “Number of the Beast.” According to Robert, the band only plays covers when they are having a good time. On Saturday, they must have been having an extra good time since Rob didn’t want to leave the stage and started singing “Stairway to Heaven” after the rest of the band had already left the stage. What a night! Gotta wonder what the total bruise count of the evening among those who survived the mosh pit amounts to?


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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