Live Gig Review and Photos by: Zenae Zukowski
Swedish metallers Machinae Supremacy have been producing video-game inspired metal tunes for seventeen years. Finally, after the release of 2016’s ‘Into The Night World,’ it has brought them to book their first North American Tour entitled, The Magfest Expansion Pack Tour. The tour began on January 7 at MAGfest in Washington DC and concludes on January 21 in Dallas Texas. Directly after their stop at MAGfest they managed to make an appearance at Brooklyn’s intimate venue Saint Vitus with acts Urizen, Danimal Cannon and Knight of the Round for support. It was a historic evening for the band and crowd. Fans anxiously waited over a decade to see Machinae Supremacy perform live in front of their eyes. A night filled with video game nostalgia, robots, and power metal beats.
The evening started with the Final Fantasy inspired to act from Chicago, Knight of the Round. For those who are not familiar with Final Fantasy, it is one of the greatest series of video games ever created since Zelda or Mario Brothers. Think about post-rock/metal bands such as Russian Circles, If These Trees Could Talk, This Will Destroy You, and the many heavy induced instrumental bands that exclude vocals. That’s what Knight of the Round was all about, blasting metal into our ears with memories and homages to the soundtrack of Final Fantasy. There was a time I wanted to scream out, “is this Blitzball?” (a Final Fantasy X reference). I kept my mouth shut as they heavily pounded away including snippets from Final Fantasy 8.
At this point, a few fans managed to shyly walk towards the front to see the one man band, Danimal Cannon. He’s a man of Gameboy inspiration with progressive guitar shreds, reminding you of a younger Joe Satriani. Secondly, he knows his music and promised everyone that they will enjoy his guitar and electric background with his Nintendo Gameboys and that his, “ridiculous songs, it will be fun.” He wanted to create a ridiculous song out of progressive metal from his Gameboy as he went into the new song “Axis” off of Lunaria. The audience enjoyed Danimal Cannon’s music and personality. He was welcoming, and when things went wrong (which everything did that night for him), fans stayed there and rooted him on. While he was introducing another new song, his cable broke. He was nearly about to quit performing but decided not to pull a Mariah Carey. He let his “backing band” play while rigging a new cable instead. The crowd cheered him on, and despite having a few hiccups including unable to perform another song, he surprised everyone with a Rush cover of “Subdivisions.” The best part about the cover was, he made it his own, and he impressed everyone that night.
Saint Vitus is a small venue, and I’m not sure how this was even possible but when Urizen went on there was room for robots, worms, scientists, and a whole lot of toilet paper. These Texan metallers had one intention, to give the audience a show like no other. The stage lights went from blue to endless blood-red as their set began with bright goggles over their eyes as they shred, and circled the stage in their knee pads for all to enjoy. Moving along, a mad scientist joined in, wanting to kill everyone in the venue. While the music was playing, a story progressed. The scientist attached each member to a “brain unit” of some sort and eventually turned into a worm by the end of the set. The only way to kill this scientist/worm was with the help from a large robot, band members, and toilet paper to shoot, saving the fans and everyone in the venue.
In short, Urizen brought a video game to the stage, giving everyone a chance to nerd out, headbang and enjoy themselves. By the end of their set, everyone was pumped and ready for Machinae Supremacy.
After three unique acts, it was time for Machinae Supremacy. The energy from the fans that night was incredible, each one looked like a devoted and veteran fan of the band. One girl screamed out, “I waited ten years for this night!” It was, intense and when Machinae Supremacy took the stage, they found out their set was cut short due to the venue’s curfew. It was sad to see, considering their first headlining tour in the US and wanting to have extra time to chat with the fans. However, the show went on and they performed as much as they could, including going over the curfew and still making time to hang out for a drink afterward. The audience sang to nearly every single song, feeding the band with positive energy. The set included songs “Into The Night World,” “Republic of Gamers,” “Player One,” “Rocket Dragon,” “Indiscriminate Murder is Counter-Productive” “Persona” “27” “The Last March of the Undead” “Laser Speed Force” “Dark City” “Renegades” “Force Feedback” and “Rise of a Digital Nation.”
Hopefully, this tour will be the first of many for Machinae Supremacy to return to North America sooner than later.