It was the night to sate all metal desires. A time for spreading the disease in Manchester. Carnage was about to tear up the floors as the massively anticipated The Eighth Plague Tour arrived… The onslaught of Darkest Hour, DevilDriver, Bring Me The Horizon and Machine Head was about to take things on a whole new wave of bloodshed and it won’t be stopped. Not to mention, that this is the grand finale of their monstrous four date UK tour.
To begin the night was Washington DC’s melodic death metal force Darkest Hour. However, as we were arriving at the Manchester Central venue, their show was almost coming to an end …now, this naturally disappointed Team TINAS. The stage times were changed at the last minute for all of the bands performing. That left the team saddened not to check out Darkest Hour‘s whole performance but the team managed to catch the last two songs of their thunderous set, which were ‘Love As A Weapon’ and ‘Doomsayer [The Beginning Of The End]’. Judging from what we heard and witnessed, the sound and presence was unique and received very well. Although Manchester was not familiar with Darkest Hour, they produced a solid set, showing nothing can stop them. Heads banging and bodies moving made up for most of the set being missed.
Chants and claps filled the cold air when the gentle introduction instructing the powerhouse ‘End Of The Line’ to ignite, Manchester Central went into an immediate frenzy. The band with the seamless entrance in the Eighth Plague tour you ask? Why, it’s none other than the pile-driving Californians DevilDriver. Their charismatic leader Dez Fafara and his military force Jeffrey Kendrick & Mike Spreitzer on guitars, John Boecklin on the drums and their newest man in uniform Aaron Patrick on bass, unleashed their battalions without fault and in full force. The smiles couldn’t be hidden when the heart thumping ‘Head Onto Heartache [Let Them Rot]’ and blistering ‘Dead to Rights’, from their latest extreme “Beast” album, grabbed the souls of the onlookers and drove them into hysteria. Several pits appeared to the fiery ‘I Could Care Less,’ before waves of heads were banging to the fist pounding ‘Before The Hangman’s Noose.’
The floor was spinning and the pits got wider when ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’ exploded from the speakers, and continues until the dramatic conclusion of ‘Clouds Over California’ brought Hell to Manchester with violence of all levels. Words cannot express how being the second artist to perform on the tour can reveal the immaculate destruction DevilDriver brought to Manchester. They switched the room from being an icebox into an incinerator with the big lights, their massive heavy metal music and their undeniable stage presence. This can’t be dissected to see any faults in their performance. Madness perfected, a job well done!
The tables were about to be turned when the young quintet Bring Me The Horizon were due on stage. The only unfortunate thing that was set for the lads was how many more obstacles they were set to dodge. Beginning their set with ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ and ‘Alligator Blood,’ they seem to be a strong force with all the bottles and abuse arriving at their direction. However, before Bring Me The Horizon were ready to crash Manchester with more, Oli Sykes exclaimed “this song is called …. I just got paid £25,000 for this gig!” Now, either the front man was joking or actually pummelling the audience with his uncanny abuse. Come what may, that infuriated Manchester to hurl more objects towards the band. Whilst this continued, tracks from their catalogue included ‘Football Season Is Over’, ‘Blessed With A Curse’, ‘It Never Ends’ and finishing off with ‘Chelsea Smile’. The taunts continued when Oli exclaimed to Manchester “I’m supporting your favourite band and you’re not” and showing his skinny bum to “make his mark” during ‘Chelsea Smile’.
There may have been a reason why Bring Me The Horizon were chosen to contribute to the tour. Maybe it’s due to their infectious energy on stage. However, nobody was too pleased with Oli Sykes‘ attitude in Manchester, as he has been on the previous three dates. Team TINAS has even noticed that the other members were valiant to carry on despite of the destruction. The frustration was finally shown on their drummer at the end of their set when he threw some of bottles, not only to the spectators, but to the fans of their music. A brave effort nonetheless.
Massive screens were elevated and the echoing chants of MACHINE-FUCKING-HEAD began to take form. The past events went into oblivion when the lights went from black to red and the crucifying ‘I Am Hell [Sonata In C#]’ drove the fans into submission, ripping throats and whipping their bodies into attack. Machine Head‘s ascendancy was instantly grabbed with ‘Be Still And Know’, destructive ‘Imperium’ and with the stomping drums into their brutal euphoria in the form ‘Beautiful Mourning’. Team TINAS can safely say that the night was right back on track.
With massive chants, unprecedented Robb Flynn mentioned that Manchester was the perfect city to end their tour in the UK. It was time for Manchester to lose their minds and for the beer drinkers to rejoice with the electric ‘The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears’ that exploded things out of all proportion. The new tracks ‘Locust’ and ‘This Is The End’ from their much acclaimed album “Unto The Locust” were very well received, with the elegance and drama throughout their fifteen minute epic coinciding with its massive light and visual show.
Now, for a little bit of fun from Manchester in celebration for the grand finale. Robb Flynn gave one lucky fan a cup of whisky for the great circle pits, complete with a Dave McClain drum roll. Then, low and behold, the first set of breasts from the females was presented! A gratifying audience cheer and even a gratifying ‘yes’ from Flynn, that earned a second show. Jokily, Flynn didn’t want a man to show off their chest, which erupted with giggles. In response, one man valiantly did just that! The spectators pretended to be disgusted and Flynn moaned “you’ve took it all away man”. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to show their chests by going on everyone’s shoulders for the Machine Head camp to witness. This was the statement that showed everyone was having a wonderful evening!
Wasting no time from the great laughs and acts, the majestic ‘Aesthetics Of Hate’ emerged for “brother Dimebag” and a visual of the great legend on screen at the end of the song as a mark of wonderful respect. Then, Manchester released all of their hidden energy with jumps and straining vocals chords with the angry ‘Old’. Dedicating ‘Darkness Within’ to Phil Demmel‘s Dad who passed on the grand finale night, lighters and phones were up shining like stars and singing as loud as a football crowd, made this a very touching moment to witness. Battles cries of ‘Declaration’ melted into the massive ‘Bulldozer’ that had Manchester headbanging on all corners of the floor. A mixture of circle pits and broken necks to the equally crushing ‘Ten Ton Hammer’ and ‘Who We Are’ was an epic landscape of power, harmony and rejoice between Machine Head and their audience. The sound of drums coinciding with words of inspiration on the big screen was another touching moment to watch with concluded with raucous cheers.
The encore was approaching and there was enough energy left for Manchester making the final day of the tour THE grand finale for Machine Head. Persistent headbanging and reciting of the lyrics to the almost spiritual ‘Halo’ was a scene to behold and then the incredible ‘Davidian’ melted what was left of our minds! Many things happened. A mass pit spread as far as it could get. Voices were tearing from all sides to “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!” Surrounding bodies began to crash everywhere. The final dose of “fucking heavy” headbanging to the spine-tingling breakdown. What a brilliant end to a night of violence, unity and bloody heavy metal music.
A great end to the year of concerts for 2011. Let’s see if 2012 can beat it … until next time.