Is there anything better than a metal show at the Newport Music Hall? I can only think of a few things, one of them being a metal show at the Newport Music Hall on the weekend. But Overkill played a gig there Wednesday night, and when one of the best thrash bands in the history of metal are in town, it really doesn’t matter what night it is.
It wasn’t just Overkill, by the way. They were headlining the Killfest 2010 tour, which also featured Bonded by Blood, Gama Bomb, Evile, and the recently reactivated Bay Area legends, Forbidden.
I missed the first two bands, but did see Evile. I knew nothing about them, but I’d heard the name before. They hale from England, and their set was a half hour of good, solid old school thrash metal.
Forbidden performed next, and again, I am not very familiar with their music, but I recognized some of the older songs, like “Twisted into Form” and “Chalice of Blood.” Fortunately, I seemed to be in the minority at the Newport, as many fans were singing along with the band. Forbidden has a new album out, ‘The Omega Wave,’ and they promoted it heavily, playing three or four tracks off of it. I really enjoyed Forbidden’s nine-song set, and I am glad I’ve seen them now. They definitely have that distinctive Bay Area thrash sound, so if you are a fan of Testament and Exodus, you will love Forbidden. I will definitely seek out some of their albums immediately, and become a proper fan of the band.
Overkill did not come out till 11:15. Ugh. Ah well, I was bummed but I had already known it was going to be a long night. I was also a little saddened by the crowd, or should I say, lack of crowd. I bet there were only 400 people, max, there. The balcony was closed, and the pit was only about a third full.
Nevertheless, when Overkill finally hit the stage, they played at a level of intensity as if their lives depended on it. Opening with “The Green and Black,” the opening track on their brilliant new album, ‘Ironbound,’ Overkill truly lived up to their name, obliterating the audience with more force than was required.
After giving the old school fans a taste of the new album, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, D.D. Verni, and gang segued into the classic “Rotten to the Core,” from their now quarter-century old debut album, ‘Feel the Fire.’ The song might have been recorded 25 years ago, but it sounds just as ferocious now as it did in 1985.
All of the classic, Atlantic Records-era albums (all of which were released between 1987 and 1994) were represented; however, only ‘Horrorscope’ (my person favorite Overkill album) had more than one song show up in the set. Overkill also performed four songs from ‘Ironbound,’ and while that may have ticked off the real old school fans who only listen to Overkill’s 1980s output, I was happy. ‘Ironbound’ is a worthy addition to the Overkill catalog, and definitely one of my top five favorite metal albums of 2010.
After a brutal rendition of their most popular song, “Elimination,” Overkill said good night and left the stage, but quickly returned for a three-song encore, beginning with the title track to ‘Horrorscope,’ a song I had never heard them perform live before. That right there was the top highlight of the night for me. After that, it was one more brand new song, “Bring Me the Night,” and then their standard coda: “F**k You.” However, for the first time ever that I can recall, Overkill mixed it up a bit: at around the halfway point of the song, the band switched gears and played a really fast, aggressive cover of the seminal Motorhead song, “Overkill.” Finally, Blitz, D.D. and company returned to “F**k You” for another couple minutes and then bid farewell to the faithful in attendance.
- The Green and Black
- Rotten to the Core
- Wrecking Crew
- Give a Little
- Hello from the Gutter
- Thanx for Nothin’
- Where It Hurts
- Bring Me the Night
- F**k You/Overkill/F**k You