Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE)

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OVERKILL / PRONG / ENFORCER / DARKOLOGY

Date: 08th November, 2014
Venue: Tivoli
Tickets: €29 ($35)
Promoter: ICS
Photos: Erika Wallberg


When you’re going to the ‘Killfest’ event, you know you’ll get your money’s worth of Metal and that’s for sure. And the 2014 edition was no different from the earlier ones. Still, I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see ENFORCER’s name on the bill, and in the end I am happy to say it worked a lot better than I first expected. But first things first! In fact, knowing Michael Harris solo-works, I thought that DARKOLOGY also seemed a bit misplaced here. At least before getting to hear it all, because yes, this was the first I’ve ever heard of that band. A shame really, since I like very much Michael Harris’ solo albums and that type of US Metal, Prog / Power sure fits my taste as did DARKOLOGY’s music. Of course, it’s hard to grasp all details hearing DARKOLOGY for the first time live but it was surely impressive with amazing songs and wonderful guitar parts. Kelly Sundown Carpenter’s voice is just phenomenal; he has the raw tone of James Rivera and the crisp clear sound of James LaBrie at the same time. How can that fail? Not in my world.

The downside with DARKOLOGY was that they were the openers and, in fact, their set started almost as soon as the venue’s doors had opened, so it was hard to understand if it was soundcheck or if they’d actually started their set. A bit more Rock star attitude wouldn’t have been in the way. At least then it would have been clear that it wasn’t soundcheck. But when Kelly started talking after the first song, the doubts were gone and enough people had entered the venue to make it feel like a real show. It was also a shame that I wasn't familiar with this band’s music; I mean, it was good but would have been even better if I had done some pre-show research. For me that is, since normally this type of music goes down better when it's well-known. So DARKOLOGY’s short but intense set was very impressive and I so wish I would have checked them out prior to the show - then it would have been even better. As a last song, DARKOLOGY did a great version of BLACK SABBATH’s “Mob Rules” which of course also sounded amazing.

DARKOLOGY

Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Darkology @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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To have ENFORCER after DARKOLOGY felt better than having them open for OVERKILL and PRONG, at least in theory. But to my surprise, lots of people had come to the show to see ENFORCER. I mean, Germany is OVERKILL’s country when it comes to loyal following but apparently it is also the country for Swedish branded old school, new wave Heavy Metal too. The start was a bit SPINAL TAP though as they couldn’t get the microphone working and didn’t get very much attention from the soundguy. Eventually he rushed to the stage and jacked the cable and everything was good to go but this time it was soundcheck.

But when they got started, it was with the same force that has been the trademark for ENFORCER. I really like their energy on stage. Also, since the last time I saw them, Olof Wikstrand has gotten into the role as guitarist and vocalist in a very good way. He stands solid and seems very comfortable with this nowadays. However, getting comfortable has taken away a bit of that raw attitude they had in the early days; that raw naivety isn’t there to the same extent anymore which is a bit of a shame. On the other hand, both “Diamonds” and latest release “Death By Fire” are mighty fine records and I especially enjoyed “Take Me Out Of This Nightmare”.

There was two rather big surprises in the ENFORCER set for me; first up the cover of VENOM’s “Countess Bathory” in which guitar player Joseph Tholl and bassist Tobias Lindqvist shared the vocal duties. Smart move since almost anyone in the venue knew the song and gladly sang along. The second surprise was the feature of a drum solo because. It’s not very common to see bands in ENFORCER’s position having one in their set. I’m not a fan of drum solos at all, so I can’t say much if it was a good or a bad one; it was rather short at least and didn’t waste much time for real songs. Last song in the set was great “Midnight Vice”, opening track from the “Diamonds” record, which of course worked very well live. The venue was about full now and everyone around me seemed to enjoy ENFORCER. So yes, ENFORCER on the ‘Killfest’ billing worked very well, even if it seemed strange prior to their show.

ENFORCER

Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Enforcer @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I’m not sure what happened in the beginning of PRONG’s set but they seemed very upset during the first few songs at least. Bass-player Jason Christopher kicked down the microphone in anger and drummer Arturo "Art" Cruz was yelling at the stage tech. I can understand that a prominent band as PRONG that has been around for so many years expect everything to be perfect when they actually hit the stage. Outwards the sound was very good and it didn’t show the problems whatsoever. However, it’s not a lot of fun to watch that behavior from the floor. I want bands to have fun on stage (which I assume all bands want too). For me, PRONG came with MTV and Headbangers Ball, that “Beg To Differ” video spun frequently and that’s basically the only thing I’ve been listening to, the album that is. So, at least the first two songs were familiar for me. I’ve also seen PRONG live a few times and they’ve always been good. I do think they were good now also - the sound was very dynamic and damn loud. It should have been for “Rude Awakening” or around that time in the set when the floor in front of the stage turned into a big mosh-pit and mainly men in their 40’s were happily jumping around and bumping into each other. Of course, this is expected but the contrast towards the Hardcore attitude going on upon stage became a bit hilarious. I do prefer a more cheerful attitude. On one occasion a beer glass flew on stage and landed on the drummer, I absolutely don’t support this from a crowd, it’s very disrespectful to the band playing but I’m not sure what’s worse: to let one flying on to the stage or intentionally, and with full force aim the glass on someone in the first line of the crowd.

So, there were a lot of setbacks during the PRONG show, which let the music end up in the background. Very unfortunate since PRONG actually sounded very good when they were playing. Arturo’s drumming sounded like a machine (in a good way) on a few occasions, precise and rock solid. The industrial effect helped a lot too. Brand new “Turnover”, release both as a 7” and opening track of latest studio album “Ruining Lives” sounded great as did the more mellow “Carved Into Stone”. So, a good show was a bit over shadowed by bad attitude, both from the crowd and the band. Perhaps PRONG wasn’t the perfect match for ‘Killfest’ as it seemed. Anyway, they sounded damn good and at least parts of the crowed seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

PRONG

Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Prong @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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You sure know what you’ll get when going to see OVERKILL and it’s amazing that they can keep up the pace tour after tour. Ok, it looked as if Bobby Blitz actually had gotten a bit more flesh on his very fit body. He’s still super-fit but the addition of a little body fat really suited him. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with his moves, which wasn’t as explosive as they used to be. Well, there are not many bands that can compete with OVERKILL when it comes to energy and intensity in performance, and basically they’re competing with themselves, and then it’s a bit of a difference. Still, OVERKILL is miles over most other bands though.

The intro “XDᵐ” from latest release “White Devil Armory” kicked off of the show, followed by opening track from the same album. The album has of course been out a few months by, but it’s still surprisingly many who knew the song note for note. But as I said in the beginning, Germany is OVERKILL’s country and there is no doubt about this. They have a very strong following there, just look at The Skull-crushers gang... Then followed the trademark song “Overkill” and I suppose it’s needless to say that the venue completely freaked out at this time, right? Two of my favorites, especially live, have always been “Electric Rattlesnake” and “Bring Me The Night”; two rather new ones but it seems they have become classics already. Both are very speedy tracks, still very catchy, so they’re very easy to take in. And with the precision OVERKILL play, they sure strike hard.

One of the main reasons why it never gets boring to see OVERKILL live is because they’re changing their setlist for each tour. There’s always some new, old songs put in. Ok, it’s not always never played live before songs but at least it’s not the same set for every tour. On this one, OVERKILL dug out “Long Time Dyin'” from “From The Underground And Below” and “Under One” from “W.F.O” among others. With the die-hard fans present at Tivoli it didn’t really matter what OVERKILL play because everything works. The atmosphere was totally amazing for the OVERKILL show, the venue was packed and basically everyone I saw was headbanging, perhaps apart from the few that was completely squeezed up against the wall and this mainly because they couldn’t move. If anything, the layout of the venue was a bit strange, very long and narrow which made the pressure in the front immense, a bit hard to see in the back and of course no question getting another beer during the show - this was rather impossible. It was needed though since the place got very hot towards the end of the show.

And the end came inevitable with “Elimination” that is another track able to give a nice boost even to the most tired fan. It had been a long night with a lot of good music but after this one, it felt I could have done it all over again. And that is typically OVERKILL, I’ve never felt tired leaving an OVERKILL gig, no exception this time either - I always feel energized and totally happy. So I guess it’s just to look forward to the next tour now, and luckily it’s not far off.

OVERKILL

Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Overkill @ Tivoli, Bremen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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