OVERKILL – Valentine’s Day In The City Of Brotherly Love

February 15, 2017, 10 months ago

Mark Gromen

gallery heavy metal overkill

Candy, hearts, flowers and ‘80s thrash metal? Don't care what you say, opposites attract! Those with a brass pair big enough to ditch their wives, girlfriends and/or BFFs convened for another installment of "bromance" with the venerable NJ band that sprang to life about 90 minutes up the turnpike from Philadelphia. "From the great state of New Jersey, ad libbed frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth joking, "No need to visit, stay here!" Later, he added to the interstate rivalry, saying "Waiting for you, on the other side of the river, wearing New Jersey Devils (ice hockey) jerseys." Booed loudly, he continued, "I may be old, but I still pack a punch and get a hard-on!" 
Hallmark moment.

First night of the tour, the stage has a 3-D effect, with drum riser, metal towers, and Grinding Wheel artwork backdrop. When the show gets underway, there will be plenty of stage fog too. Beforehand, during soundcheck, the band runs through a couple of newbies that will be in the set, "Mean, Green, Killing Machine", slotted as the opener, and "Goddamn Trouble". During the practice, Blitz begins in heavy Carhartt jacket, complaining about touring in February and never being able to get warm. By the second song, juices flowing, he's down to an Overkill hoodie and eventually just a long sleeve (long johns) cotton shirt.

"Rotten To The Core" follows the new disc's lead-off track, the singer (tongue-in-cheek) wishing everyone a happy Valentine's Day. "Electric Rattlesnake" offered plenty of strobes, bassist DD Verni echoing the lyrics, mere seconds after Blitz. Backlit, in the fog, a blue lit and strobe accented "Hello From The Gutter" sees Ellsworth shriek "Hello.." and the crowd picking up the titular chorus. Between songs he chides, "We're going to do a bunch of love songs, for the couples." Not sure if that's what he meant, leading into blue & green hued "Goddamn Trouble". A solitary white headlight, either side of drummer Eddy Garcia, repeatedly flashes dead into the on looking crowd. The stage is bathed in yellow, with red highlights, as the telltale bass notes of "Feel The Fire" commence, Blitz announcing one of the few vintage chestnuts aired, with "Not here to make you feel old, we're here to make you feel old school." In the post-chorus break, guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer break from the respective sides (where they typically remain, throughout the show) to create a trio with Verni, center stage. Song gets the biggest ovation thus far (maybe of the night).

"Nice Day For A Funeral" is something unexpected, Tailer now shirtless. "Infectious" transforms the stage blue, ultimately punctuated by an occasional blast of white. During the green (with plenty of white spots & strobes) "Our Finest Hour", Tailer makes a couple of trips back & forth to the drum riser. This one also gets a big response. "Armorist" which had opened the previous tour (as well as one of the shows at 70,000 Tons, last week) is almost exclusively in white stage lights, with curling wisps of smoke behind them. While Linsk is in knee-length shorts and backwards ball cap, Blitz is in black, head-to-toe (speaking of which, check out their cover of Johnny Cash's "Man In Black", available as a 7" vinyl single, from Metal hammer, in Germany. New, but recorded during the Electric Age sessions), often standing atop the wedge monitor, and/or using the mic stand as a prop.

Guess the color of the stage during the Thin Lizzy cover of "Emerald", a showcase for Linsk, which closes the proper set. A bit early if you ask me. The band, minus Blitz, heads back out, under a barrage of strobes, to introduce "Ironbound". From there, it's the requisite send-off, "Elimination/Fuck You" peppered by a bit of banter from the wisecracking singer.

Know they were running a little behind, getting set-up on Day 1 of a new tour, so maybe there's a tune or two dropped from the running order tonight ("Hammerhead" & "In Union We Stand" were played on the boat, maybe to be inserted at a latter dates?).  An interview with Blitz will be posted on BraveWords.com soon.

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