Review: Overkill – Classic Grand, Glasgow

This is probably the most interesting and most memorable gig for so many reasons. I have always wanted to catch One Machine live. I was hearing the buzz about them in the local scene, and before I knew it, they got the opening slot for the Overkill European tour. Before the doors opened at 6pm, there was already a healthy queue at the door waiting to enter the Classic Grand, which is always a good sign. So, it’s now time for the One Machine set. We can see the lads on the stage, the crowd is buzzing with excitement, just waiting for that opening chord and drum blast to kick things off…

Oh oh, disaster time! There’s no sound, and we have MAJOR technical issues. Chris Hawkins, to his credit, entertained the crowd at the front whilst everyone else was wondering what the hell was happening. The drums could be heard, but we couldn’t hear Chris. I don’t know if there was an issue with the guitars as well, as for 25 minutes, the band and sound engineer tried desperately to get the sound on, when it did, One Machine performed “Forewarning”, and that was it… all over. Huge roars erupted and the band walked off stage. I guess the lads are learning fast about overcoming problems that arise whilst touring. It appears that they had issues with their van when in Birmingham. Chris had issues with his vocal chords as well. Oh, the joys of being in a band and touring.

Next up was Vader, and it was impressive to see the amount of people wearing the band’s T-shirts. It nearly outnumbered the folks wearing an Overkill T-shirt. I must confess, I only caught the last ten minutes of Vader’s set, as I was interviewing with Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, (keep your eyes peeled for this), but from what I did see, the crowd were getting heavily involved into the set. The mosh pits were stunning to watch from a vantage point. Clearly Vader know how to deliver a set leaving most of the audience breathless.

For over 35 years, Overkill have recorded albums (17 in total and soon to be 18), toured almost every country possible, and tonight they were here in Glasgow ready to show why Overkill are regarded as one of the finest thrash metal bands on the face of this planet.

They open up with “Armorist”. “Run, run, run. Like you never did before” sings Bobby, and he grins when the mosh pits form. The boys from New Jersey are going all-out thrash here. The energy being shown by these guys is stunning. The passion. The aggression. It certainly puts a lot of young bands to shame. This is a lesson in how to do a show.

“Rotten To The Core”, and “Electric Rattlesnake” soon follow. When you have a 17 album back catalogue to call upon, you can expect an extensive setlist featuring the guys greatest hits. Just watching Blitz, he has lost none of his singing ability. He still hits those high notes with ease. An engaging frontman giving it his all for the sheer love and pleasure that only by being in Overkill can bring. He is ably backed up by his lifelong comrade in arms D.D. Vern. From that single moment in 1980, who would have believed that both would still be sharing the same stage? At one point D.D decided that the temperature in the room was getting a bit warm, so he rips of his shirt and plays his bass bare chested. I wonder how many ladies swooned at D.D. That man puts me to shame. Let’s not forget Dave Linsk, Derek ‘The Skull’ Tailer, and Ron Lipnicki. Without these guys, there would be no Overkill, and all contributed to an amazing set.

Overkill had already performed “Hello From The Gutter”, “Hammerhead”, “Feel The Fire”, “Blood And Iron”, “Coma”, “Infectious”, “Blood Money”, “Bare Bones” and “Nice day… For a Funeral”, so when the first note for “Horrorscope” played, we knew that we were getting nearer to the end of the set. “Thanx For Nothin”, and “Raise The Dead” followed, and then we got “Overkill”. Yep, one of the few bands that have a song title the same as the band name (A wee brainteaser for you. How many other bands can you think of have their name as a song?).

The stage went dark, after nearly an hour and a half of non-­stop thrashing delights. The old thrashers weren’t quite finished with us yet though, as they soon re-appeared, and the crowd went insane for the legendary “Elimination”, the one song that is a constant part of any Overkill set list. The band and crowd conjoined as an unstoppable force. The sheer riffage and drumming exalts the last ounce of energy from within. Bobby was dripping with sweat, but clearly enjoying the moment as Glasgow went insane.

As a last act of defiance, Bobby shouted “FUCK YOU!”, and Glasgow gladly responded, “FUCK YOU!” and middle fingers were being shown all around the venue as the band ended the set with The Subhumans cover “Fuck You”. The house lights went up, sweaty bodies were grinning, high-fiving each other, embraces being given, and the expressions on the faces said it all, “What a fuckin’ gig”.

This is what I love the most about thrash metal, you are NEVER too old to thrash. It’s fantastic to see these legendary bands still performing at the highest level. The younger bands will do well to watch and learn from these “oldies”.

The last time Overkill were in Glasgow, they performed in the Cathouse. This time it was the Classic Grand… a bigger venue. It’s brilliant to see that they are still attracting the punters, and the punters sure as hell got their money’s worth.

If you get the chance to see them on this tour, DO IT! You won’t regret it, trust me.

Review: Craig Travers

Images: Ritchie Birnie

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