Review: Body Count – SWG3, Glasgow

After marauding through Europe for almost a month with a mixture of headline shows and festival appearances (a tough act to follow, for sure), Body Count brought their run of 21 shows dubbed the ‘Merciless Tour’ to an end with an incendiary performance at Glasgow’s sprawling SWG3 complex in the West End of the city. The tour promo material strapline of “THERE WILL BE BLOOD!!” was true to its boast and for those who prefer live music at a more sedate pace, Kings Of Leon were also in town, just across the road. It’s hard to imagine the Followill brood whipping up their crowd as much as Ice-T, Ernie C, and company did in the largest of SWG3’s multiple rooms.

For the handful of headline shows, getting the juices flowing in time for the headliners was the responsibility of German purveyors of “Fury Funk”: Slope. With the head-spinning new album ‘Freak Dreams’ tucked under their arms, and 30 minutes to impress a partisan audience, the crossover outfit from Duisburg, Western Germany were not hanging around as they quickly set out to make some friends.

Opening track ‘Goodbye Mr. Dandy’ has more twists and turns in one song than most bands have during an entire album: hardcore, punk, funk, alternative, metal, it’s all there, and the crowd are digging it. ‘It’s Tickin” is the first visit to ‘Freak Dreams’, and it’s a riot. Full of wah-wah and much more guitar effects, it starts in one style, progresses through many more, and ends on something completely different. The same kind of quirky, what-comes-next energy of Mr. Bungle, and Primus. There’s no point in guessing what might come next; go with the flow and appreciate the insanity of it all. By the time the set ends with ‘Freak Dreams’, the band has a few hundred new converts to the cause. Slope return to the UK in October for a headline show in London, more information, HERE.

By the time the houselights dim, the warning sirens sound, and Dave Mustaine’s spoken-word voiceover informs the crowd: “In compliance with the United Nations, the President of the United States has declared Martial Law…Any violation of Martial Law will result in immediate arrest and trial for treason. All traitors will be shot, America is now engaged in Civil War” – the venue has filled to bursting point.

The intro of ‘Civil War’ (released, one might add, 7 years before Alex Garland took the plaudits for his movie of the same name) fades out, Body Count (minus Ice-T) takes to the stage and launches into what else but ‘Body Count’s in the House’. After a few moments of stoking the flames, Ice-T’s son and backing vocalist Little Ice motions stage right, and the cool-as-fuck figure of Ice-T strolls menacingly onto the stage to take his place front and centre. The band introduction part of the 1992 song remains and is updated to include the names of the new members, once he has introduced everyone, Ice declares: “…and I’m Ice mother fuckin’ T, bitch”. Where does it go from here? Straight into a cover of Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’, pits open up, drinks arc through the darkness, and crowd surfers are coming over at a steady rate. Damn, carnage never felt this good.

The 18-song setlist stops at most junctions in the long and illustrious career of the Grammy-winning outfit (ironically, ‘Bum-Rush’, the song that scooped Body Count’s ‘Best Metal Performance’ award in 2021, is omitted) and flies past in a masterful performance from one of the tightest bands that you are as likely to encounter this year. With original member Ernie C bringing the explosive riffs alongside fellow guitarist Juan Garcia (AKA Juan of the Dead), it is a fast-paced, guitar-heavy set emphasizing ferocity. Drummer Will Dorsey is a joy to watch as he pummels his kit and the connection he has with the ludicrously talented bassist Vincent Price is immeasurable. Dorsey (AKA Ill Will) also happens to drum tech for Adele. Completing the line-up are Little Ice, and another original member – Sean E. Sean on samples and backing vocals.

1992’s debut throws out a few early highlights. The punk-fuelled Oi-vibes of ‘Bowels of the Devil’ (expertly controlled by Price) are always a thrill to hear live, and then there is the total banger ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’. Dealing with the obstacles that Metal Gatekeepers tried to place in front of the band (“Don’t they know rock’s just for whites/Don’t they know the rules?”) it is still relevant 30+ years later and the delivery from lefty Ernie C is killer (especially on the finger-tapping solo mid-song), and there is a great moment when he takes a step back to let Juan of the Dead take centre stage and dazzle with his guitar solo. Chemistry is key in a dual-guitar band and these guys have it in abundance.

One of the few bands from an era that are not only still recording new material, but material worthy of the legacy that built the band’s reputation; Body Count are not afraid to unleash newer material rather than relying purely on nostalgia. Taking from the upcoming new album ‘Merciless’ (introduced by Ice as…“If you look up Merciless in the dictionary it says – the absence of mercy…that’s about where I am in my life right now, I’m fresh out of fucks”) ‘The Purge’ is a new track that showcases how strong the new album is shaping up to be. With Little Ice down prowling the barrier while wearing a Purge-style mask, it is slower-paced but what it lacks in pace it makes up for in weight. Add another banging new track ‘Psychopath’ (which brings the BLOOD mentioned in the strapline) might just see Body Count back at the Grammys next year.

 

As the night heads into the closing stages, the big guns come out. ‘Drive By’ whips the pit up, the immaculate ‘Talk Shit, Get Shot’ sees Ice bring his young daughter, Chanel, out to introduce the song (“No matter how nice she looks, Chanel is Metal as FUCK…”) and she stays onstage mugging it up on the shoulders of her older brother Little Ice as the pair gesture to the crowd to part and make some space for a pit that kicks in once Ice brings the band back in. And, naturally, ‘Cop Killer’ has the place erupting. As good as ‘Cop Killer’ is though, the cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ that closes the set is simply stunning. The bare bones of the song is the Floyd original, but Ice-T has taken that and added a spoken-word rap running throughout it. Genuinely a jaw-dropping re-imagining of a classic, with Ernie C nailing the solo. And kudos to young Chanel for her “Goodnight Scotland” mic-drop after Ice brings his family onstage.

In an amazing Summer of live music in Scotland from some big, big names in Rock music: who had Ice-T and Body Count down on their bingo card as providing THE gig of the Summer? Don’t miss these guys next time around.

Body Count Social Media Links:
Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter || TikTok

Review – Dave

Live images – Dave Jamieson

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