Overkill Still Thrashing the Metal Scene 3+ Decades Later

Overkill Still Thrashing the Metal Scene 3+ Decades Later

February 27, 2017

Overkill/Nile/Motive/Ye'iitsoh - Club Red - Mesa, AZ 2.26.17
Review/Photos: "Iron" Mike Savoia - www.Facebook.com/SavoiaPhotographyLive
Full Facebook Overkill Photo Album {Here}​

For over 33 years I've been one of the biggest Overkill fans on the planet. Never missed a show in Seattle in that time, but that streak came to a dead stop last week when my father passed away in Mesa, AZ. So I've been down here taking care of business with Mom since 2/18. Missing the Overkill El Corazon Seattle show on the 22nd wasn't even on my mind obviously, but with the luck of the draw (or my Dad pulling off some perfect timing) I saw a show ad down here last week for Overkill playing right down the road from my parents house 2/26. Perfect way to take a night and get back into my element and mind elsewhere. One problem I came down with just my one camera, a 24-70 lens and one battery half charged. Thank goodness I brought my Black Rapid camera strap. Didn't know what to expect at Club Red in Mesa/Tempe except being told the lighting wasn't the best. Never a surprise statement to me being from the Seattle music club scene ha!  All was good on arrival, was on the Overkill list, had photo pass there, got in all ok. Club Red was cool, basically a rectangle room that held 700+ and with this sold-out show I had to figure where I was gonna shoot. Went down to the main floor and saw a photo barrier but when I looked it was basically shoved to the stage so no way I was gonna squeeze into that spacing blocking from row fans so I did something I haven't done in years. Strapped that camera on over my shoulder and went Overkill gorilla style trying to shoot from the crowd/pit.

Before that though I hanged at the Overkill merch table with their merch Queen and my friend Robin. This was the half way point of the current "Grinding Wheel Tour" and she's already sold out of over half of the merch supply! Yes, Overkill merch is some of the best looking in the business with their patented neon green black attack! So hopefully she gets the new supply delivered tonight in Albuquerque, NM. A huge surprise at the show was running into Jared Kiess, aka James Hetfield of the greatest old-school Metallica tribute band on the planet Blistered Earth. He drove 15 hours straight from Montana for this show, now that's dedication! So as usual I knew someone at a concert outside my hometown ha!    

The opening local acts Ye'iitsoh & Motive killed it! Of the two, I really loved Ye'iitsoh, just straight ahead thrash metal with growled Skeletonwitch-like vocals and props on the gong! Never seen that used before in a thrash metal band ha! Ask Jered, I was totally into the gong idea ha! Then the big-time tour opener was Nile. For nearly 25 years leashing their (as they call it perfectly) "brutal Egyptian and Lovecraftian inspired Death Metal". The team of Karl Sanders (guitars/vocals) and George Kollias (drums) has always been the main two I've known over the years but tonight there was two new members since I last saw Nile, Brad Parris (bass/vocals) and Brian Kingsland (guitars/vocals). I was blown away with this lineup. Not only was the material strong they were tighter than any other Nile lineup I've seen. You want HEAVY? How about dropped 'A' tuning!! Yeah that was crunching! The Egyptology and other ancient Middle Eastern cultured subjected lyrics and sampled sounds they played around makes for one of the more interesting live acts in the this musical genre. I think if you've never heard Nile you'd enjoy their sound and show. Great seeing bands have fun with each other onstage too!

Ok, now it was time for the East Coast King's of thrash metal Overkill! Supporting their (yes this is right) 18th studio album release and one of their best ever "The Grinding Wheel". With 18 albums released how do you possibly pick a 1.5+hr set to satisfy all the old-school and newer fans? Somehow they did it with a setlist that had the fans inside Club Red going bonkers every song! Look at this crazy setlist, awesome!! Mean, Green, Killing Machine - Rotten to the Core - Electric Rattlesnake - Hello From the Gutter - Goddamn Trouble - Feel the Fire - Nice Day...For a Funeral - Infectious - Our Finest Hour - Hammerhead - Armorist - Emerald (Thin Lizzy cover) Encore: Ironbound - Elimination - Fuck You (The Subhumans cover). As long as they played "Elimination" & "Feel The Fire" I was good and they did but during the show I was hoping for some "Skullcrusher" somewhere, 2 outta 3 ain't bad right? Singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth voice is still razor blade sharp, DD Verni's bass sound is still the best in the Big 5, the dual guitars of long-time guitarists Dave Linsk & Derek "The Skull" Tailer still crush all. The surprise was seeing Eddy Garcia (I believe he was their drum tech) behind the drums and not Ron Lipnicki. Guess Ron retired from touring so Eddy is the man now on the road.

It was funny seeing me try to shoot when the band came out on the opening "Mean, Green, Killing Machine". The still packed floor crowd erupted like a energy blast. I was going sideways, forward, backwards and eventually made my way to the back to safety with my camera. It was actually fun getting bashed around for awhile but I know I'm not that young guy anymore after 4 decades of concert thrashing and don't need to be anywhere near a mosh pit anymore.
Live Overkill never disappoint and I don't think they could possibly have a bad setlist with so many classic tunes over the years. With over 16 million records sold Overkill could be the greatest (what I call) underground thrash metal band ever. They never achieved the commercial/stadium/attendance success of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax (aka The Big 4) but Overkill are the #5 in my books. Out of all those bands Overkill have been the most consistent and true to their roots. The AC/DC or Motorhead of Thrash Metal! Check out their new album "The Grinding Wheel" its a pure crusher and right now my album of the year so far for 2017!