OVERKILL / GOD FORBID / SUIDAKRA / DIAMOND PLATE
DimK: Usually, I write a nice intro explaining the reasons to attend a certain live show and in general I think it works well. But is it possible to lay down several reasons to go to an OVERKILL show? I mean, OVERKILL is one of the most reliable Thrash acts out there that has been serving metalheads for more than 3 decades in an unbelievable pace and energy level that most of the legendary veteran bands cannot even think ways to match them (I don’t want to start name-calling here). So, to put it simple, there is one and only reason to attend an OVERKILL show: OVERKILL are (still) capable to teach the young and remind the old how a real Thrash concert feels like.
DimK: As usual METAL KAOZ missed most of the set of the opening band simply because it was +17 ages show scheduled for a working day. So, it’s humanly impossible to get off work and get to the venue before show time. This time DIAMOND PLATE had to be sacrificed but at least we had the chance to watch and listen to them as they were finishing their set. And my verdict is that DIAMOND PLATE have seriously improved from last time I saw them live. It seems that the young label has almost disappeared and they look like a solid band with more onstage confidence and tighter performance. But this is not something new; if a band works hard in every show, improvement is granted, so many kudos to them!
MariaV: Since the folk Metal movement has hit the States more than a couple of times during the last 2 years, I’ve wondered why a band like SUIDAKRA hadn’t the chance to join bands during their US tour like ELUVEITIE, TURISAS, ARKONA, KORPIKLAANI and many more. Well, I know that a European band has a lot to arrange to make a reality a trip to the other side of Atlantic Ocean, but still, I don’t get it. Fortunately, we had the chance to catch SUIDAKRA with the mighty Thrash machine OVERKILL (you’re gonna understand why I use the ‘machine’ moniker in DimK’s report below), so no bad feelings here. SUIDAKRA released a great album last year and in this tour we had the opportunity to enjoy Arkadius and his clan live ‘in action’.
The only bad thing happened during SUIDAKRA’s set was the mediocre sound that didn’t allow us to listen to the rest of the instruments properly (except from the bass that dominated everything!), making fuzzy tricks and covering even Arkadius harsh vocals from times to times. “Dowth 2059” and “Isle Of Skye” roused up the about 70 fans who were inside The Bottom Lounge (fortunately that number doubled till the end of the night) and the existing mosh-pit space, right in the middle of the venue, accepted 3-4 warm-blooded fans who pushed each other (yep, that’s what moshing means in the US), while they might have downed a beer or two. SUIDAKRA seemed pretty solid onstage and even though the bagpipes were pre-recorded (that’s always a turn off for me), they managed to warm things up, abetting us to show our horns, hair, tits, whatever, according to Arkadius’ call. I only wish to have more time in their disposal and a better sound. Well, I hope to visit us soon with a headlining show, but still, I don’t get why they had to play only for 30 minutes, while the next in the billing GOD FORBID had almost an hour for their set. Strange things...
SUIDAKRA setlist (by memory):
01. “Over Nine Waves” / “Dowth 2059”
02. “Isle Of Skye”
03. “Dead Man’s Reel”
(click to enlarge)
MariaV: Few minutes before GOD FORBID’s set, it was time to meet OVERKILL’s Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth for our scheduled interview (you’ll read that soon at METAL KAOZ, no worries), so there was no time for the US Metalcore act’s thing (I secretly have to admit here that this genre is not my cup of tea, at all). After our nice talk with Bobby (well, it was more a conversation than an “interview” since this man has so many things to say), we returned to the almost packed The Bottom Lounge for the last 3 GOD FORBID songs.
Two things false here: first of all, the sound was too loud. I know the saying “if it’s too loud, you’re too old”, but I ensure you that was extremely loud. I don’t know what was the deal with the sound engineer, but man, you left us deaf for the rest of the night. Secondly, I can’t say I enjoyed these guys while onstage; of course Byron Davis has a very dominating presence, communicating all the time with the audience and his throat is made of hell, but the rest of the band seemed totally indifferent up there, like there was no spark or mood for playing live. Extra kudos goes to Byron who kept mentioning us that OVERKILL were about to hit the stage, so we have to be ready for some real Thrash. And how ready we weren’t...
GOD FORBID setlist:
01. “The End Of The World”
02. “Where We Come From”
04. “Gone Forever”
05. “Go Your Own Way”
08. “War Of Attrition”
09. “Crucify Your Beliefs”
(click to enlarge)
DimK: Ok, I will be honest with you; I got bored with GOD FORBID’s show that looked to my eyes flat and indifferent. Maybe the limited space they had in their disposal (the drum kit was huge) may have been a nice excuse but still I got nothing from their set. But then everything had ended and it was time to prepare the stage for OVERKILL. The centre stage monitors were placed on boxes in order to give additional space for the band that is widely known for the intense shows. So, after getting pumped up by some PAPA ROACH tunes, the lights went out and the intro of “Come And Get It” opened the door for an awesome Thrash show! The sound was loud but clear, while the additional light show made The Bottom Lounge’s stage look bigger and hence able to contain the high energy levels from the New Jersey band. It always amazes me watching Blitz entering the stage; the way he runs and then grasps the mic stand to stop him from sliding further, looks and feels like an energy explosion. So, there was no warm-up phase and immediately everyone was caught in OVERKILL’s Thrash storm. The opening tracks were the perfect intro for that but things got really intense when “Elimination” showed up in the setlist. The fast riff, the amazing bass line and on top of everything Blitz’s high pitched almost screaming singing is the ultimate driving force. So, there was a lot of pushing around (yeah, the way the US youngsters do this... there should be some seminars about moshing here in the US) and a lot of headbanging. From that point and on, the show felt like a blur. OVERKILL kept the setlist tight without meshing around with long speeches, solos or whatever fillers many bands tend to use to minimize the fatigue and do some energy conservation. Yeah, people, this is Metal and this is how it is meant to be played; if you cannot follow this tempo, then it is best for you and the fans to retire.
“So, what about the Blackhawks?”, asked Blitz the Chicago fans and added “You know we accept more fans in New Jersey” and got some additional reaction since he is a hockey fan himself (this is why green and black are the dominant colours in OVERKILL). Nevertheless, I know nothing about hockey, so don’t expect from me to comment further on this, apart from the obvious fact of how Blitz can establish a connection with the audience without even trying. OVERKILL threw a lot of new songs in the setlist and that’s a huge plus for me, since it shows how much a band believes in its writing power. It’s very common (and sad) nowadays watching longtime running bands releasing a new album but only include the old hit-songs in the setlist, clearly playing it safe, but at the same time revealing the luck of inspiration and drive. So, I had an awesome time with “Electric Rattlesnake” (excellent backing vocals here), “Ironbound” and “Wish You Were Dead” that Blitz described as a love ballad...
Dave Linsk did an amazing job in the guitar leads and gave us a hard time watching his fingers tormenting the fretboard without a single sign of fatigue despite the headbanging and the constant motion. Derek Tailer was his guitar wingman and just like Blitz had established a clean communication channel with the fans, provoking them and joking them in every given chance. Of course, D.D. was the classic D.D. Verni figure, holding the granite solid bass lines with a great deal of attitude that is so trademark in every OVERKILL show. Last but not least is Ron Lipnicki who was lost behind the drum-kit that was placed on top of raised platform (it was really high for The Bottom Lounge stage setup) but he gave a powerful performance, holding the rhythm section tight in the OVERKILL way.
Then the lights went out (apart from the green spotlight under the drum raiser) and the trademark electronic loop kicked in stating it was about “Necroshine” time! Indeed, it was insane and there was headbanging all around reaching a nice climax for such a pumped up show. “The next one is for the old school!” said Blitz as a short but most effective intro for the Punk-based “Old School”. Once again the backing vocals were awesome and kept that sing-along feeling intact all the way.
Clearly there are no complains about OVERKILL’s performance. The band gave 100% during their entire setlist that featured no slower parts; it was pedal to the Metal during the 90 minutes that sadly felt more like half an hour. Even the wait for the encore did not last long since everyone was sure that “Fuck You” is the show stopper in every OVERKILL show. Before this one, Blitz played once more the Blackhawks card to convince the crowd to shout over their lungs “We don’t care what you say, fuck you!” as he stood on top of the stage monitor with his trademark standing pose. The band’s honest attitude and the we-are-having-so-much-fun looks are two of the most important elements that make OVERKILL such a great live act! Is anyone out there who can stand still during “Wrecking Crew” or not sing-along with “Rotten To The Core”?
01. “Come And Get It”
02. “Bring Me The Night”
04. “It Lives”
05. “Electric Rattlesnake”
06. “Hello From The Gutter”
08. “Save Yourself”
09. “Gasoline Dream”
11. “Old School”
12. “Wish You Were Dead”
13. “Wrecking Crew”
14. “Deny The Cross”
15. “Rotten To The Core”
16. “Fuck You”
(click to enlarge)