It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Texas as I headed to the Factory in Deep Ellum to witness the Machine Killers tour. As I got closer to the venue and made it through the heavy traffic, I could see the line waiting to get in the doors. The line was down the street and wrapping around the building with fans eager to get in and check out all the merch the bands brought. As they made it through the door, fans began making purchases; they quickly reached the front rail, where they would stake their place for the night. Doors had recently opened as I walked into the venue, and it was already filling up fast, with lines snaking around the venue with concertgoers waiting for their chance to purchase souvenirs from an incredible night of performances.
The first band up for the night to kick things off was an incredible three-piece band from Kenosha, WI, Lines of Loyalty, that would set the bar for the performers coming behind them. As the house music and lights went down, the trio walked out and took their place to perform their set for us. They kick their set off with their song Hurts to Be Human and get the crowd grooving as soon as they begin playing. As they finished their opening song, they welcomed the fans and asked how everyone was doing, and the group welcomed them to the stage with a loud cheer and applause. They jumped into their next song, called Blackout, and got the fans headbanging with their heavy beats and incredible riffs during the song. These guys set the bar high with a fantastic, energetic set that had the fans grooving along. A few of the other incredible songs they included in their set today were Winless War, with some fantastic demonstrations of the vocal range of their singer, and With or Without You. With or Without You was another incredible demonstration of how good this band is.
The second band up tonight was the amazing Dope, an American metal band from New York City performing for many years with several hit songs. The house music faded, and the band began walking out to kick things off with their song Blood Money, which starts with heavy thunderous hits, heavy riffs, and astonishing low end. Edsel welcomed the fans as they finished that song and then abruptly jumped into Bring it On. The fans sang along and held their middle fingers up high as they sang some lyrics with the band. As they wrapped with their second song, Edsel addressed the fans and thanked everyone for coming out to support them and the band and crew putting this tour on. They continued to keep elevating the bar with their set and the energy they had interacting with the fans as they played. Towards the end of their set, they played another one of the phenomenal songs titled Die MF Die, and as soon they announced it was coming, the fans went wild. When Dope started playing the opening of this song, the fans began running around and moshing in the pit. The crowd packed in there, and you would see them all moving at once back and forth from the front rail to the back wall of the venue.
The next band up was the co-headliner of the Machine Killer tour, the legends Sevendust, and you could feel the anticipation as their set time was getting close. As the crew set the stage for the legendary act to perform, many of the fans were taking breaks and getting drinks to watch the next set. As the venue speakers silenced and lights went out, a flashlight was lighting the way for their drummer, Morgan Rose, to take his place on his throne behind the kit. Then, the rest of the band would join one at a time, stepping into the fold to perform. Bassist Vince Hornsby, guitarists Clint Lowery, and John Connolly got set, and then you could see front-man Lajon Witherspoon walking out as the crowd erupted with screams and cheers as he approached the microphone. As he walked up to the microphone, he started singing the lyrics to I Might Let the Devil Win off of their latest album, Truth Killer, and the fans loved it. When they finished the opening song, he welcomed the fans, and they went into another new piece with Truth Killer and began obliterating our senses with the heavy music they were putting out for us. They continued driving into their set for the night and even brought out Alpha, which hadn’t been performed since 2013, and their fans were so excited to hear it live again. They continued working their way through the setlist for the night and playing some of their classic songs and many new ones off of their latest release. You know, they played some of their biggest hits, and the fans were going crazy in the mosh pit when they played songs like Denial and Bitch. During their set, you could see the whole venue moving and shaking at the bouncing and moving around that was going on. They finished their set with Face to Face, and as they were walking off, the fans were chanting and wanting more.
As the crew finished breaking down the Sevendust set-up and were getting the Static-X gear set, the fans were taking breaks, grabbing drinks, and waiting to witness what Static-X was bringing to the stage. As it was time for Static-X to take the stage, the fans had returned to their spots, and you could feel the anticipation in the air. As the lights went out, a giant mascot with a pumpkin-style disco ball for a head came walking out to welcome everyone to the show for some Evil disco. As the figure was leaving the stage, Bassist Tony Campos and Guitarist Koichi Fukuda made their way to the edge of the stage and were welcomed by the crowd with loud cheers, whistles, and screams as they hyped up the crowd. Drummer Ken Jay made his way to his throne behind his drum kit, and Xero made his way to a platform riser in the middle of the stage. The drums started the song Hollow and was quickly joined by the rest of the band, with Xero singing out the lyrics as the fan sang along with him. During the song, they all began moving around and running all over the stage, playing flawlessly, and Xero welcomed us to the show and ended the song with a big growl. Xero said okay, now everybody jump and began singing the words to Terminator Oscillator, off one of their latest releases, Project Regeneration Volume One. As the bass drum began hitting hard and the low guitar riffs and bass began joining in for Love Dump, the fans chanted and then sang along with the band. They continued playing through their set, and Xero told the fans to welcome to the second night of the Machine Killer tour, and how about we play some more old-school Wisconsin Death Trip shit, the fans erupted loudly with screams. They played some of the recently released songs as well as some of the classics. They continued thrashing and running all over the stage to make sure everyone got to see the band members. The crowd entered a colossal circle pit when they struck the first chords of Bled for Days and had the whole building moving. They also played more classics, which included Cold, I’m With Stupid and ended it with Push It, and as they finished and thanked the crowd as they walked off, the crowd was chanting and wanting them to continue playing farther into the night. This concert was an incredible show with an exceptionally talented lineup to give you your music and concert fix for a bit of time. If this tour is coming to a town near you, I recommend you get some tickets, take it all in, and witness the magic these bands bring to the stage for you every night. You can tell these guys give it their all and leave it all on the stage for the fans. I am pleased that I witnessed the magic and will be waiting for any of these bands to come back to town and see it all again.
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood