It was battle jackets and pony tails as far as the eye could see as I hit 170 Russell for a night of madness and mayhem with the mighty Overkill. It has been a few years between drinks since Overkill last toured and the punters were keen to get their thrash on, many turning out early to get prime position on the barrier. The large Overkill backdrop behind the stage teased us of what was to come as we took our spots for the warm ups.
Melbourne was represented well with the two opening supports both hailing from our wonderful city. Direblaze opened proceedings with a short but sharp thirty minute powerhouse of thrash to get the expanding crowd pumped. With riffs being spat out at a blistering pace their set was not for the faint hearted and they certainly packed as much into their slot as possible. With support gigs for Kreator and now Overkill I think we will be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
The line at the merch stand was relentless and I was glad I got in early as most shirts sold out quickly, it really was a case of you snooze you lose. We know it’s not easy for bands to travel to Australia so we always show our support by buying a shirt of two just to let them know how much we appreciate their efforts to come and play for us.
Harlott filled slot 2, listening to them taking five minutes to do a quick soundcheck I knew immediately it was going to be killer. Their opening song blew me away, the sound was fast and furious and lacked nothing, it was balanced perfectly and the singer Andrew Hudson was a terrific front man. While their thirty minute set may have been short in duration it was huge on talent and they had the floor packed and headbanging in quick succession. Melbourne never disappoints with its live music scene and if you haven’t seen Harlott get out there and find them you will not be disappointed.
The last of the hoards piled in ready for the veteran thrash metal kings Overkill, and the age of the punters really did determine that they were long term fans from way back when it all began. The green lights that radiated the stage set the tone for the opener, Mean, Green Killing Machine, the mosh was immediate and it was fierce as Bobby Blitz’s trademark vocals rang out. Performing as four piece Overkill lacked nothing in sound, it was classic thrash at its finest and the fans absolutely lost their minds. The drum riser was large and we got to see the newest recruit to the band drummer Jason Bittner in full flight. What a demon Jason is on the kit, double bassing and skin hitting that had to be heard to be believed, he is the perfect fit for Overkill and left nothing in the tank all night.
D.D. Verni and Dave Linsk covered the loss of the rhythm guitar perfectly with some superb shredding, both sensational all night. With such complex music they make it look so easy which is no easy feat for any musician let alone thrash masters. Bobby left the stage frequently when his vocals weren’t required, keeping hydrated side of stage then literally launching back out to rip out the lyrics. Hello From The Gutter, Goddamn Trouble and Wrecking Crew to name a few as they worked their way through the impressive set list.
The mosh never faltered, the punters revelling in the craziness, all being smashed from pillar to post. The worst offenders were a few crazy chicks who had a death wish, constantly throwing themselves into the madness only to be spat out to ride the wave again and again. The crowd surfers were plentiful but with a few hard landings many may be in need of a chiropractor come tomorrow.
Bobby’s hands almost puppeteer like as he called to the fans via his expressive digits, he looked extremely fit with guns to rival a man half his age. On several occasions he grabbed guitars picks and handed them to fans, a terrific gesture that is always appreciated. I Hate, Horrorscope and Coma blew the roof of 170 Russell, add to that Infectious and Hammerhead and I am sure they band are ready for a well deserved rest. But not quite yet! After a very brief moment off stage they are back to finish out the night, and Bobby screams ‘Grandpa is gonna kick your arse’ as they launch into Elimination and Fuck You. This last song saw middle fingers held high as the hoards screamed ‘we don’t care what you say, FUCK YOU!’ a very fitting finish to a night of metal thrashing madness. With a show of this stamina I have no doubt Overkill will come visit us again, as age definitely isn’t playing a factor in slowing them down any. I speak for all when i say we will be more than happy to get our arses kicked one more time!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale