Overkill @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (5/1/2010)

“Killfest” was in NYC and while the guys in Overkill originally hail from New Jersey, it’s pretty safe to call them one of New York’s most popular bands as well.  Tonight the band would be bringing their traveling Metal circus to the Nokia Theatre in Times Square and as the night progressed we would learn that the Metal was not the only excitement brewing in the city that evening.  The show itself featured Woe Of Tyrants, Evile, Warbringer, God Dethroned and Vader as support for the band and WOW, was that a lineup to sink one’s teeth into.  Click the bands logo below to be taken to the complete concert article on the main PiercingMetal.com site.

Logo - Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Venue: Nokia Theatre Times Square (New Yore1k, NY)
Opener: Vader, God Dethroned, Warbringer, Evile, Woe Of Tyrants
Date: 5/1/2010
Label: E1 Entertainment

There are Metal shows and then there are METAL SHOWS and tonight my fiends was clearly going to be one of those events that went down in history for a number of reasons. The operating title of the tour was listed as “Killfest” and it was spearheaded by New Jersey’s own Overkill. The legendary Thrash Metal outfit was celebrating their latest release “Ironbound” on their new label E1 Entertainment and also a very productive 25 years at the craft of dishing out this kind of music.

Woe Of Tyrants: The first band up tonight would be Woe Of Tyrants, a not too long ago signing for the folks at Metal Blade Records. Interestingly enough, the last time I caught them they were appearing as one of the openers for the God Dethroned guys and they would be up on the stage shortly. So far, my absorption of the kind of Metal that these guys do is still rather new and they have not yet managed to snare me. They are tight in their delivery but it is not all that different for me to gauge a better view at this time. I need to see them again and perhaps sit down with a CD to offer you more. There was not yet much of a crowd when they played and from various parts of the room there was both indifference and interest going on at the same time. Just goes to show you that some folks love what others hate and vice versa. Evile was next.

Evile: Evile was here not too long ago (two months to be exact), and were taking part in a rocking little event hosted by Germany’s Thrash Metal gods Kreator on that last visit. Tonight would find the Brits supporting an equally important act with their being on the Overkill roster, and their presence for me added to the view about how Overkill loves to put bands that need to be in people’s faces on their tours. I enjoyed Evile the last time they played and was also fortunate to be able to speak with them for a few minutes since they hung around their merchandise table and met with anyone that wanted to bend their ear. It would be a sadly short set but one that instantly showed the audience that was building up by the minute that they are a new force of Metal to be reckoned with. Music this evening would primarily come from their “Infected Nations” release and it also seemed that the band was quite comfortable with new bassist Joel Graham. These guys seem to enjoy their NYC visits and most likely feel the same way across the other United States that they drop in on, so let’s hope another cool tour finds them on the bill and doling out the tunes with energy and zeal. Time for Warbringer.

Warbringer: While I might sometimes feel that I am seeing Warbringer far too many times to have them remain fresh to my Metal ears, the guys most certainly know how to deliver an energetic live set and singer John Kevill just loves the energy that gets thrown back at him during a show. The band hit the ground running and as soon as he arrived on the boards he was motioning the crowd to start the pit a swirling. They complied of course and it’s impressive to see this kind of response for a still very new band on the scene. Let’s face it, they have only been around for a couple of years in comparison to the regularly touring groups we have been supporting so I will say that I applaud them for their level of zeal for the Metal scene. If you’ve seen the band before I can say that the set tonight didn’t really contain any surprises and instead was one loaded with the songs that you knew already. With them being the third band of six, the set was also rather brief and they would finish up long before the crowd was tired of them. During their set which featured the standards of “Combat Shock” and the volatile “Total War” we found some members of the audience tossing straw sombrero hats onto the stage. Kevil sported one for a moment before the head banging sent it on its way as did drummer Ritter. It was amusing to see, but in the end only another obstacle for the security folks to deal with. Now for the return of God Dethroned.

God Dethroned: I had seen the God Dethroned headlining gig that came through town a few months ago and while I enjoyed myself at the band’s rock solid delivery, I was very disappointed in the absolute lack of support that it received from NYC’s Metal legions. That show made me realize that while the band had some fans over on this side of the Atlantic, that the larger fan base that they could have in their command was just not being reached with this jaunt of their own. Fast forward to this evening’s Overkill show, and this was a gig that was nothing less than perfect for the music of God Dethroned. If you are still in the dark about this Dutch melodic Death Metal outfit, then please get with the program because you are missing out on some really cool shit. They are intense in concert and their music crushes the soul. Since I first heard their stuff there have been a number of changes in the lineup and this still seems to be a way of life for the band. Two members are now ranking officers in the Epica army, and that last show found guitarist Susan Gerl among them but she has moved on as well. In her place was Ian Jekelis from Abigail Williams (who had also toured with the band back at that headlining spot). Jekelis was perfect for the role and complimented the work being done by Henri Sattler and Henk Zinger. The guys were visibly pleased about being on this tour and it was clear to me from all vantage points that the audience was digging what they were putting out there. I felt this gig to be a very important one for the band and one that would be helping their latest slab of metal “Passiondale” very much. They sounded great in this setting tonight and like the other bands before them would hang around the merchandise table talking to fans. A lot of powerful fan cross-networking was done by God Dethroned tonight and I am sure across the whole tour as well. The show had been interesting already but just before Vader came on was when the night began to take a completely unexpected turn.

Vader: The mighty Vader was another band that had headlined recently, and I think it was in October or November of last year that this happened. While it was great to see them back in action after that Summer Slaughter tour where they played seventeen or so minutes, I felt that if anyone else needed the Overkill tour as a defining US appearance it was Vader. They are clearly popular over in this region but are no drawing in the same crowd as Overkill and this appearance would surely help the cause of this European juggernaut of Metal. Of course just before they had hit the stage the scuttlebutt about the outside world was filtering into some peoples phones via text messages and the information was about a bomb scare happening right up above us in Times Square, around the corner from where all of the Metal maniacs had assembled below ground tonight. Thinking this a rumor I focused on Vader as they decimated the now very crowded, but visibly not “packed” Nokia with a thorough but abbreviated set. They played about 45 minutes and would touch upon their most recent Nuclear Blast Records effort “Necropolis” as well as doling out some of the bands older material. Piotr commanded the stage like it was his own, and for the most part it was right now. The last time around the band had “Vogg” from Decapitated on guitar and he was very well received after the tragedy that his band had faced, but now in his place was a member of Malevolent Creation (another Nuclear Blast Records Extreme Metal act). He worked out well, and performed the material commendably. As it closed up for the Vader set Piotr said that they would be back again and while this was only about 45 minutes, it did the trick much better than any could have hoped. There was certainly a lot of Vader appreciation coming from this Overkill crowd tonight and I liked witnessing that very much. The downside was the folks who were feverishly texting friends like me asking where I was and how was the show going on since they were told by authorities that the event had been cancelled. Apparently the entire street and avenue were blocked from all traffic around the venue and no one was getting past them to get to the show. This scare was looking to be all too real based on that kind of response. Either way it was now time for the main event.

Overkill: Have you ever seen Overkill in concert before? I’ve watched this band for many, many years and am continually impressed at just how hard they work at delivering a neck wrecking Metal show for the masses. This night of the “Killfest” tour was one of the closing dates for this leg of the run and I think that they would be playing their hometown New Jersey tomorrow with fewer bands but that show didn’t matter much to me since I was in the NYC mix where it counted tonight. It would seem that despite the chaos obviously brewing upstairs on Broadway that there was a much more controlled instance of the same going on down here. As mentioned, Overkill was supporting the new album “Ironbound” which comes care of their new label E1 Entertainment. The band is also signed to Nuclear Blast Records in Europe and I think that is great since they are now company with the likes of Vader, Suffocation and a whole crop of other devastating Metal talent. To my knowledge this gig would be the first time that the band was playing at Nokia Theatre, as the last few times I’ve seen them was at B.B. King’ Blues Club around the corner. Given the circumstances upstairs, it might have been much less of a drama on the fans getting in had this show been a couple of blocks away. So the band was celebrating 25 years of this music and of course as many know, the core original lineup is Bobby “Blitz” and D.D. Verni. Guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek “The Skull” Tailer have been in place for several years and in my opinion are worthy members of the enterprise along with no longer new member Ron Lipnicki who handles the drums. Originally I was not crazy about the former Hades skin basher replacing Tim Mallare, but since he has moved on, Ron has really stepped up to the plate. I asked earlier if you had ever seen Overkill before and that was based on it not being all that easy to define the swirling chaos that an audience becomes when the band is on the stage. Blitz is the commander in chief when the band is doing their thing and he really gets into it while D.D. Verni destroys the bass. These dudes are official veterans of the craft in my eyes and each show becomes an education in how to do it properly.

Musically the set tonight was an interesting mix of old and new; it was one that while seeming to focus on their “classics” would also pay some healthy attention to the new release. It was not one of those “here are eight songs from our new album” shows and I was glad since that would not work for the Overkill faithful. They completely bypassed anything from the previous album “Immortalis” and that surprised me, but they did do “Old School” from “RelixV”, a song that while a little syrupy is rather fun live in my opinion. Having grown up with this Metal band I was leaning on the legacy numbers this evening and should the upstairs incident prove to be something dire, this could very well be my last Metal show ever so might as well enjoy it I figured. That being said, I enjoyed witnessing the band rumble through not only “Hello From The Gutter” and “Wrecking Crew” but also the seminal mainstay of “Rotten To The Core”. I remember the first time I heard that song on vinyl, remember that stuff? Of course you do since albums are trendy again. It was cool to hear “Coma” from “Horrorscope” and the crowd pleasing “Elimination” but these numbers had me dying to hear them perform “The Years Of Decay” again. It’s been too long in my humble opinion. “Fuck You” brought us to the end of the show, and they broke off from that riff to do “Sonic Reducer” by the Dead Boys which I loved hearing them do. After that interlude it was back to “Fuck You” and then thank you goodnight NYC. During the show Blitz spoke a number of times to the crowd and while I didn’t hear him reference the upstairs events, a buddy of mine said he commented how “no bomb scare was going to stop them”. Of course it would soon be learned that it was no scare at all but a real deal threat and as result of the police presence a few hundred fans did not make it into the venue. This show started at 6:30pm, and I think the threat became clear a little after 7pm. Those who felt a few more beers instead of openers was the wiser choice definitely regretted their decision. Someone griped to me how they were unnerved at the venues silence about the chaos upstairs, but I said that I think 2000 Metal heads streaming up above instead of being down here would have made things worse. The news was not secret thanks to texting and what mattered the most was that no one was even hurt and the threat was dispatched. Nice work NYPD.

All of this made this one show that would not be soon forgotten by anyone. Congratulations again to Overkill who have successfully managed to withstand the tests of Metal time. I am sure that even they are a little bit surprised at their longevity. Here is to the next twenty five!

God Dethroned Set List:
1. Soulsweeper
2. Under A Darkening Sky
3. Nihilism
4. No Mans Land
5. Warcall
6. Poison Fog
7. Boiling Blood
8. Villa Vampiria

Overkill Set List:
1. The Green And Black
2. Rotten to the Core
3. Wrecking Crew
4. Battle
5. Hello from the Gutter
6. Feel the Fire
7. Ironbound
8. Coma
9. Bare Bones
10. Gasoline Dream
11. Overkill
12. Bring Me The Night
13. Elimination
14. Necroshine
15. Old School
16. Fuck You
17. ‘Overkill’
18. Fuck You (Reprise)

I usually enjoy photographing the brightly lit marquee at the Nokia since its so often very decorative and “resounding”, but tonight I would have to deal with scaffolding.

Happy 25th Anniversary Overkill

A little closer to get the image of “Chaly”, the bands mascot with the skull and bat wings.  Chaly is not to be confused with the very similar image used by Avenged Sevenfold.

I was not sure why this was happening inside the venue tonight, but for some reason there were a number of straw hats being tossed around and worn by the audience who eventually got them up onto the stage.  Some of the band members wore them before the head banging sent them on their way.  It’s always interesting at a Metal show my friends.

Viva La Metal!!!!

Oh and while we mentioned how the city was insane with police activity and investigation after the all too real bomb scare that occurred while many were downstairs getting the Metal on, I didn’t take any photos of that.  I just wanted to get away from the area and figured the news would fill everyone in on the chaos that was found in Times Square after the show.

Official Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com
Official Website: http://www.vader.pl
Official Website: http://www.goddethroned.nl
Official Website: http://www.warbringermusic.com/
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/evileuk/

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