Machine Head gave up playing festivals and gave its fans what they wanted – longer sets.
The band stopped performing at music festivals in the United States in 2013 after fans complained of short sets. The band now plays full sets on headlining tours.
“Nothing against the festivals, but this is just a lot more rewarding,” said Robb Flynn, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. “We were getting to the point where, sure, we’re playing to 15,000 people, but 14,000 of them don’t give a (crap) about us and there was just this kind of empty feeling and we weren’t really seeing it transfer into earning a fan base, so we switched it to this and just continued with this upward trajectory for us.”
Fans are getting more than they bargained for on the band’s current “An Evening With” tour, which stops at El Rey Theater on Saturday, Jan. 18. The tour features a three hour set broken into two parts. The first two hours will feature Machine Head classics and deep cuts such as “Imperium,” “Halo,” “Ten Ton Hammer” and “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears,” followed by an hourlong set of the band’s debut album, “Burn My Eyes,” which celebrates 25 years, played in its entirety for the first time ever. The “Burn My Eyes” set will feature original drummer Chris Kontos and original guitarist Logan Mader.
“Everything kind of lined up, and we started doing it,” Flynn said. “We started rehearsing it, and it was, ‘Oh wow, this is really good.’ We immediately went in and we recorded the debut album just, like, live in the studio. Left all the mistakes in and left all the kind of between song banter, and it was just basically just us rehearsing the songs. We were, like, let’s record this and release it. So we recorded it and started releasing it, and fans ate it up.”
Machine Head made vinyls of the recording available at the band’s merchandise booth during its concerts.
“Some of those songs haven’t been played live in America in 23 years or something, so it’s going to be great to dust off those songs for people in the States who haven’t heard it in a long time or may not have heard it at all because we have a new generation of Machine Head fans that come out to the shows,” Flynn said.
Returning to the band’s roots did not hinder it from making new music. The band recently released a new song, “Do or Die.”
“(It’s) just ferocious, just an angry, fast track,” Flynn said. “I’m really excited. It’s kind of cool, because we never really dropped a song just out of nowhere.”
Albuquerque is the band’s second stop on its current tour, and the band is stoked to return to the Duke City.
“The last Albuquerque show that we did was legendary,” Flynn said. “It was one of the craziest, rowdiest shows. It was the biggest merch night on the whole tour. … It was an amazing evening. It was so much fun and so much intensity from the fans. I just can’t wait to get back there.”