© Dani Kammler
Photos and Interview by Dani Kammler
Overkill have been around the thrash metal scene since their 1980 formation in New Jersey. They have gone through many line-up changes, with singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni remaining from the original lineup. The announcement that they would be heading to these shores for their debut Irish gig was met with great expectation and excitement. Subsequently the show was a sellout. Overkill have continued to release strong albums over the years, with their most recent being “The Electric Age”in 2012. I was lucky enough to chat with the band before the show, and their enthusiasm and excitement to be finally playing in Ireland was very evident. Audience was made up of a wide section of both locals and people that had made the trip down from the North-illustrating even further just how popular that this show was proving.
First on the bill were Shrapnel from England. Despite being formed in 2009, they had not surprisingly previously come onto my personal musical radar. Sourcing many of the classic thrash innovators as the basis of their sound they threw themselves onto the Dublin stage. Energetic and engaging they came over as a myriad of their influences rather than creating something new. The guys were passionate and appeared to be enjoying their set playing to a small audience. However for me personally there was a spark or connection which was missing.
Xentrix are a band that many had thought had their day. Remembered primarily for a cover of Ray Parker, Jr’s Ghostbusters,they had split up in 1996. A brief reunion in 2006, a few live shows and then nothing….Until 2013 when they re emerged as support to Kreator on a UK tour. This also took in a Dublin show which I was fortunate to witness, and was very impressed with their performance. Xentrix then returned to play several headlining shows again which included a date in Dublin. The support with Overkill would therefore be their third Dublin show in a year. They had clearly built up a strong support from the Dublin fans. Clearly evident by the swelling audience numbers as they started their set. Enthusiasm was a two way thing with both the band and the crowd seeming to fire each other up and connect with each other. The band even announcing that it was due to the positivity from their Dublin fans that had caused them to start working on new material. One new song was aired in their set, and I was very impressed. It was also worthy of mention that their famous cover version did not get a live airing. I was pleased with that as perhaps it is a sign that finally the band are confident to stand on their own music and not trade of such gimmicks. Generally positive feedback regarding the Xentrix set from the audience members that I managed to chat too. I predict a new dawn for the band.
Then there was Overkill. Air of expectation was high, as the Overkill stage set was revealed…raised drum riser, and all. The stage was bathed in green light, and Overkill burst into “Come and get it”from their most recent album. First thing that struck me was the power and range in Bobby Ellsworths vocals. Incredible yes on record, but he seemed to effortlessly replicate the highs and range also in a live show. Perhaps those frequent breaks he was taking while the band exercised their musical muscle was spent inhaling Helium. However his pitch and delivery were always bang on the money when he did return on every occasion. Oldies “Wrecking Crew”, Rotten to the Core and “Hammerhead” proved satisfying to the long standing fans like myself. The band were solid musicians and remained content to take a back seat to the whirlwind that is the “Blitz”in full flow. Several references were made to the bands affinity with Ireland and Dublin despite this being their debut show. Singer Bobby’s enjoyment was apparent in his performance as he made some jokes and generally interacted with his audience. Nice mix of old classics and newer songs in the set list, and the show just seemed to fly by. Encoring with “Horrorscope”and their long-standing and much played Subhumans cover of “Fuck You””The crowd surfers and pits were like experiencing time travel and it was a gig back in the eighties all over again. Fantastic performance by a band fully comfortable and confident in what they deliver. I wasn’t alone at the shows end in expecting a much shorter wait before Overkills next show(s) on these shores.
Interview with OVERKILL @ The Academy Dublin. March 2014
Overkill Tour presented by MetalHammer
13.03. UK London – Islington Academy (w/Soilwork)
14.03. UK North Wales – Hammerfest
15.03. IRL Dublin – The Academy
16.03. UK Glasgow – Cathouse
17.03. UK Manchester – Sound Control
19.03. D Köln – Essigfabrik
20.03. D Bochum – Matrix
21.03. D Braunschweig – Meyer’s
22.03. D Leipzig – Hellraiser
24.03. I Mezzago – Bloom Club
25.03. CH Aarau – Kiff
26.03. D Aschaffenburg – Colos-Saal
27.03. D Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
28.03. D Nürnberg – Hirsch
29.03. D Saarbrücken – Garage