Overkill at The Academy – Review & Photos
Overkill played a sold out show at The Academy last night, March 15th 2014.
34 years in the making, thrash legends Overkill played their first ever gig on Irish soil in The Academy on Saturday. Often overlooked by critics and the public in favour of the Big 4, Sepultura, Testament, Kreator and others, yet Overkill have arguably maintained a more consistent sound over the years than most in the genre. Their previous two albums, 2010’s ‘Ironbound’ and 2012’s ‘The Electric Age’ in particular are as good as any they have produced, an impressive fear when you consider the sheer mediocrity of the current output of other seminal thrash bands of the period – Metallica’s ‘Lulu’, Megadeth’s ‘Super Collider’, Slayer’s ‘World Painted Blood’, Sepultura’s ‘Kairos’ – and Overkill’s follow-up is slated for release this autumn.
Talismanic frontman Blitz Ellsworth terms their first Irish show as “The green meets the green!” referencing to the traditional colouring of band’s logo. They kick off the night with a few recent tracks, ‘Come and Get It’ and ‘Electric Rattlesnake’, which slip seamlessly into the opening portion of the set alongside classics ‘Wrecking Crew’ and ‘Hammerhead’. Crowd reaction for new songs by older bands has a tendency to be a little muted, but in this case the crowd seem to know and love the newer stuff as much as the old stuff and thrash about happily. Blitz continues to dart around stage with Bruce Dickenson levels of energy, befitting a man a third his age, and sounding just as good. Even though Blitz now runs offstage to administer oxygen to himself owing to health problems in recent years, he leaps onstage after to give a stellar performance.
The songs are built for crowd participation, and they’re certainly up for it, buoyed by Blitz’s Jersey-accented encouragement, relentlessly moshing and headbanging. The security staff have their work cut out for them with the amount of crowd surfers over the course of the show, but hats off to them for their demeanour and professionalism throughout. With the antagonistic vibe between concert-goers and security at metal gigs lately in this city, particularly since the events at Exodus’ gig in the Button Factory in August, it was refreshing to see relaxed and confident bouncers, who’s purpose you could tell was solely to keep concert-goers safe, rather than to crack some metalheads’ skulls.
The sound in general is excellent in The Academy, but for this particular gig, the bottom end didn’t really pack the same punch it normally does, and good luck trying to hear the rhythm guitar if you were standing on Dave Linsk’s side of the stage. That aside, they rip through more classics, ‘Rotten to the Core’, ‘Hello From the Gutter’ and ‘Necroshine’ before ‘In Union We Stand’ and ‘Elimination’ send the floor into hysteria. The encore consists of the leaden Horrorscope, followed by their Subhumans cover, ‘Fuck You!’, which draws a legion of middle fingered salutes, drawing ironic smiles from bouncers below the stage.
It’s a show impressive in a number of facets – the vitality of the band, the endurance of their thrash sound and the enthusiasm of the crowd. The warm welcome gives some belief to the hope that this show is the first in a long line of future dates from Overkill, overdue at this stage.
Review by Conor Cosgrave
Photos by Anamaria Meiu