Overkill @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/14/2005)

Logo - Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club, NYC
Opener: Sonata Arctica
Date: 4-14-2005
Label: Spitfire Records

I have to admit that my personal excitement was at a very high level for this show and there are a couple of reasons for this being the case. Not only would Overkill be returning to home turf to lay down the metal in support of their latest Spitfire Records release “ReliXIV” but this show would also feature Finnish Power Metal kings Sonata Arctica. What made it extra special was the fact that this Sonata was going to be in NYC for the very first time. Originally, they were set to open for Nightwish but that tour had been mysteriously cancelled for the US Dates. Fans of Sonata were up in arms for now what were going to be the chances of seeing them play over here. Luckily Overkill placed them on some dates and they also grabbed a festival or two. The other great aspect of this night would be that instead of sitting through five bands, we would only have these two super groups. In this you would get lengthier sets from both groups. Mind you, I enjoy when all 5 bands are kick ass, but that is few and far between. B.B. King Blues Club was again the venue for this appearance and it would never be the same again. Metal would be present in a united front that took pioneers in thrash from the USA and put reigning European kings of power on the same stage. The show was completely sold out, and proves to those that say metal music is dead that they should keep their mouths shut. The venue hold about 1100 people and selling this out is no feat to be scoffed at.

Hitting the stage with all guns blazing, Sonata Arctica plowed through a 90 minute set that featured both older material as well as some numbers from their latest release “Reckoning Night”. As soon as they hit the first chords, you were able to see the strong show of support that this band had gathered in the USA. While considered juggernauts in their native Finland the group was unaware of the reception that they would get from an audience here in the States. I remember talking to one girl who was so excited about the show that she and her boyfriend arrived at the venue at 1pm in hopes to meet her favorite band. She did by the way. For those that have not heard Sonata Arctica yet I advise you to pick up the new release or “Winterheart’s Guild”. These CD’s seemed to comprise the larger part of the current performing set. Watching them you can see that the looks like they are having a good time up there by laughing and smiling. Lead singer Tony Kakko sounds exactly like he does on the record in a live setting and to me that is always a win-win deal. I was informed that the tour for them will be short, but according to Tony and the road manager they are hoping to come back in the immediate future. I felt that perhaps this gig was better for them than the Nightwish one would have been, for I think there were 4 bands set to play for those shows. We would have gotten a little over 30 minutes if that was the case. Give me 90 minutes of metal anytime.

When Overkill was ready to deliver the goods the temperature and excitement had risen to extreme levels in the venue. Overkill had not done too many shows in the area over the recent months so it was great to have a full show being done in NYC. As I recall the last thing they did was play at Eddie Trunk’s birthday bash (he is a popular radio personality). The bash was more of a jamming gig than a full set so it’s not the same thing. Within seconds of the band hitting the stage the audience was in frenzy. Heads banging faster than I have seen with areas of the floor in mosh pit mode and all while the crowd surfing was in full sway. Overkill has been around for 20 years now and these fans are with them for the long haul. It’s a true sign of dedication in these fans that show up from miles around. Leader Bobby Blitz is always excited about performing and gives you his all each and every night. His familiar screech clearly definable over the crunching bass work of D.D. Verni (his long time collaborator and original core member). Tim Mallare was invisible to me behind his massive drum kit and he thundered away on them. Guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer smoked on the axes as they and the group blazed through a blistering set that was a combination of the new CD and some of their most classic material. It was a wise decision to do this as there are so many great old Overkill songs. While the set was intense and well-put together I was sad to not hear the track “Overkill” or “Years Of Decay” (as they remain two of my favorites to this very day). Bobby made sure to surf the crowd late in the show, which he always does as I understand. He loves his fans and it shows though it always amazes me that he chooses to risk his neck in that stuff. As you can see by the listed tunes there were even a couple of surprises performed that night.

I had the chance to shoot some killer pictures of the show for both bands. While Sonata Arctica performed the crowd was excitable but not crazy, yet when Overkill hit the stage this would change drastically. There was a makeshift barrier fence cordoning off the stage from the bouncers, and this was braced by beer kegs. I can attest to you that this was tested to its capacity and it while the bouncers were pushing back and holding it up it failed miserably. This was very important to me and you might ask why. Well, I WAS BEHIND IT TAKING PICS!!!!!. Clearly not a lot of fun for me realizing I had to flee to the side stage. Afterwards and backstage Blitz caught up with me and said “hey you made it out alright, good to see since I saw that thing going and was like fuck get him out of there”. I said I never expected it to get like that and he replied “what do you expect Ken, this is an Overkill show”.

Sonata Arctica Set List:
1. Intro
2. Misplaced
3. Blinded No More
4. Full Moon – White Pearl
5. Victoria’s Secret
6. Broken
7. 8th Commandment
8. Shamandalie
9. Kingdom For A Heart
10. Replica
11. My Land
12. Black Sheep
13. Sing In Silence
14. The End Of This Chapter
15. Graven Image – encore
16. Don’t Say A Word – encore
17. The Cage – encore

Overkill Set List:
1. Within Your Eyes
2. Damned
3. Rotten to the Core
4. God-Like
5. Elimination
6. Horrorscope
7. Under One
8. Bats in the Belfry
9. Thanx for Nothin’
10. Loaded Rack
11. Gasoline Dream
12. Blood and Iron
13. Hello From the Gutter
14. Powersurge
15. Old School
16. Necroshine
17. Wrecking Crew
18. Fuck You

Official Website: www.WreckingCrew.com
Official Website: www.SonataArctica.info

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