Following an opening set by Swedish melodic death metallers The Halo Effect, Viking marauders Amon Amarth took to the stage to a heroes' welcome. In a city that was founded by the ancient Swedish invaders, the band appeared to be on a mission to reclaim it, taking the place of their ancestors on a stage flanked by huge Viking deities.
Kicking off with ‘Guardians of Asgaard’, front man Johan Hegg prowled the ornate domain like a warrior leading the charge, making the Swede’s presence all the more imposing.
Greeting the crowd, Hegg seemed genuinely taken aback by the rousing reception they were receiving. “Holy shit Dublin, it’s great to be back in this awesome city!”, he declared before asking; “are you ready to do battle with us?! You truly are the great heathen army”!
With drummer Jocke Wallgren perched atop a huge horned helmet with animated eyes for the duration, the staging grew evermore impressive, with the towering icons being replaced first by ornate boats, and finally, during ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ by an enormous serpent that Hegg did battle with. Additionally there were demons, battle-ready warriors, and more, in what was a truly jaw dropping production. For many, they were the band of the night.
Arriving to a far more subtle fanfare, visually at least, Machine Head chose to let the music do most of the talking. “Are you ready for a fast one?!”, enquired a knowing Robb Flynn as the band took to the stage and launched to a supercharged ‘BECØME THE FIRESTØRM’.
Blasting through a succinct set that went from early classics like ‘Ten Tonne Hammer’ to the nu metal bounce of ‘From This Day’, the thrashers raised the roof on the arena.
Bringing out the big guns, literally, for an incendiary 'I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)' the performance featured enough pyro to singe the arm hairs off of half the hall.
At home in the Irish capital, Flynn remarked; “This is the last night of the tour before we go to Europe”. Going on to namecheck a well-loved local watering hole, he continued; “We should probably go to Fibber Magee’s after this. We love Fibber Magee’s.”
Finishing up with a pummelling ‘Davidian’ and an impassioned ‘Halo’, the band took their bows on what, in the words of Flynn had been “a long night of metal”.
Taking to social media after the show, Machine Head posted; "Dublin! Well wasn’t that just the perfect way to spend a Tuesday evening in your fine, fine city? You guys brought the beer, the circle pits, the bouncing floor and your loudest voices, all the right ingredients for a classic Machine Head show!"
They continued; "We were blown away by your energy and you guys were the loudest crowd of the tour so far. We loved the deafening “Machine f’n Head” and “Olé” chants, and you definitely set the bar for the highest turnout of ladies in the audience too. Seeing the female Head Cases out in force was awesome!"
Summing up, they concluded; "All in all, a perfect way to cap off the UK/Ireland leg of the Vikings and Lionhearts tour".
Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Darren McLoughlin.