Overkill - LIVE: Islington Academy, London 2014

The Electric Age Tour
March 13 (21:45 - 23:10)
Capacity 800

Spring arriving with an Overkill tour in the UK isn't a new phenomenon, but with all of their other European tour dates cancelled because new album White Devil Armory was delayed, that left the run of five dates standing alone as a slightly odd final leg to the Electric Age tour.

The reason for this was that they didn't want to cancel their high profile appearance at Hammerfest in Wales, so cancelling the other UK dates made little sense if they were going to travel for the festival anyway, and adding the resurgent Xentrix and young thrashers-of-the-moment Shrapnel to the tour made for a bill which could have stood against most of Overkill's Killfest tour packages. What made the London show particularly strange though was the booking of Sweden's Soilwork as direct support, leaving no room for Shrapnel.

The chances are that Soilwork, who were also appearing at Hammerfest, were looking for a London show to play while they were in the country, and couldn't get a venue of their own that night, but it was a generally foolish match-up for all concerned. Xentrix had to have their set cut to 30 minutes, Shrapnel couldn't play that date, Soilwork received a predictably lukewarm response from a thrash crowd with very little interest in them, and the promoters, whose idea the whole thing likely was, might even have lost out on ticket sales, with fans who might normally have travelled to London choosing to see the superior Overkill/Xentrix/Shrapnel bill somewhere else. All so Soilwork could play a paltry 40-minute set.

Xentrix tore up their slot regardless. Playing mostly the required "hits", plus new song World of Mouth from the (slowly) forthcoming album, their brand of relentless involving thrash, something Shrapnel also pull off with their new album, is tailor made for the stage. The new song isn't quite as technically riff-laden as the older material, but still stood up well. They were very well received and the crowd response showed they should clearly have been switched with Soilwork, who even acknowledged themselves that this was a strange bill to be on. Nevertheless, they also gave it their all and were they playing to a more suitable crowd, it was the kind of performance which would have induced rapture.

Somehow between Soilwork and Overkill, despite everything appearing to be ready, the thrash veterans took a full 30 minutes to come on, eventually taking the stage ten minutes later than they were scheduled to, putting even more pressure on an already constrictive set time. However, once they did get going, with minimal fuss and interruption they squeezed their normal 100-minute set into just 85 minutes, only going fractionally beyond the venue curfew. This was particularly beneficial because had they been forced to cut songs, it would have been the newest rare selections that would have been dropped.

Instead, amongst ever-presents like Wrecking Crew, Elimination and Fuck You, tracks like Hammerhead, Necroshine, Horrorscope (considered common, but actually not played in the UK since 2009) and Thanx For Nothin' kept their places, making the fact that Electric Rattlesnake, Ironbound, and Come And Get It still haven't been switched out for something different from the two most recent albums, most of which haven't been played live.

Nevertheless, Overkill are one of those consistent live entities where it doesn't really matter what they play, they're such a good band that fans can never fail to enjoy their shows. A lazier band would therefore not change anything, so it's a testament to them that they give such consideration to fans with a broader knowledge of their catalogue.

Everything else about their live prowess has been said before, they're flawless, and play a thrash show the way it should be played, without all the faux aggression and posing. The next tour will be for White Devil Armory, which probably means at least three new songs, and hopefully some different rarities.

“ minimal fuss and interruption ”

Xentrix setlist: No Compromise / Questions / Back In The Real World / For Whose Advantage? / Crimes / World of Mouth / Balance of Power / Dark Enemy

Soilwork setlist: This Momentary Bliss / Like The Average Stalker / Overload / ?? / Parasite Blues / Tongue / Bastard Chain / Rise Above The Sentiment / Stabbing The Drama

Overkill setlist: Come And Get It / Wrecking Crew / Electric Rattlesnake / Hammerhead / Rotten To The Core / Bring Me The Night / Ironbound / Hello From The Gutter / Coma / Necroshine / Thanx For Nothin' / In Union We Stand / Elimination // Horrorscope / Fuck You

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2014, Gigs, Thrash Metal,

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