Show in Review: OVERKILL w/ Hydraform & Exhorder @ Brooklyn Bowl
Let me preface this review by saying that OVERKILL is my favorite band, was my first tattoo, and I’ve gone to the ends of the earth to see them so to say I was excited for this show would be a vast understatement. This would be only the 3rd time seeing them here in Vegas in the 16 years I’ve lived here (they don’t play here a lot) and would be my 16th time seeing them in total. More than any other band I’ve seen.
Obviously this show was a no-brainer for me and wouldn’t miss it for the world but they announced a meet and greet package which included a poster, limited edition long sleeve shirt, a VIP lanyard, and obviously meet and take pictures with the band. For 75 bucks (not including the ticket) that was the real no-brainer. I would of paid way more and that was a damn good deal. They instructed us to get there by 4:30 and the meet and greet would start at 5. It started closer to 5:30 cause their timing was way off coming in from San Francisco but no big deal. It ended up only being 7 of us for the m&g, which was a bit sad but gave everyone more time to bullshit with the band which was cool.
I met some really cool people and made some new friends. I even met a guy that lived on Long Island (NY) the same time I did and saw Overkill in my hometown club called The Downtown (of which I have made shirts of @ gonebutnotforgottenshirts.com) that I was also at. Pretty trippy coincidence. One other fan even had their logo tattooed huge across his back. True dedication. The band shuffled in and everyone got to chat with the band and have them sign the poster for 15 minutes or so before taking pics. I talked to the drummer Jason for a bit about the drum lessons he does on tour and seeing his former band Shadows Fall at The Cheyenne Saloon back in the day (shirts coming soon for that one. Shameless plug #2. Ha). Got to talking to bass player and founding member DD Verni (also of Bronx Casket Co. and solo) about seeing Overkill in Staten Island in the late 90’s and how impossibly long it took to get there using public transportation. He mentioned that he used to do the same thing trying to see his favorite bands in NYC from Jersey in the late 70’s and chat a bit about my shirt company (plug #3. Last one I promise) which he loved the idea of printing old concert venue shirts. Everyone in the band was super cool and laid back and the vibe was great. Would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.
After having a bit of time to grab a couple slices of pizza (unfortunately at the expense of missing first opener Hydraform) and meet up with a bunch of friends it was time to head in to catch Exhorder. Exhorder is famously known for influencing Pantera’s shift into a harder style first seen on Cowboys From Hell. Exhorder only had two albums in the early 90’s before disbanding but returned in 2019 with their first album in 17 years, Mourn the Southern Skies. After the recent departure of one of their original guitarists, Vinny Labella, only singer Kyle Thomas remains as the sole original member. They played a nice mix of all three albums in their short set and the band was full of energy. A nice primer for what was to come with Overkill.
Overkill started with the first song off their new album (“The Wings of War”) “Last Man Standing”. The setlist was pretty heavy on songs from “Ironbound”, which came out in 2010 and was shift into faster and heavier songs, and the albums that came after. Of course, being an old-school fan I would of preferred more older songs but, shit, they would have had to play at least three hours to satisfy me. Ha. Staples like “Hello From the Gutter” and “Elimination” came pretty early in the set but where they really got me was playing “Necroshine” into two songs from the album “W.F.O.”. Awesome mid period songs that I love. Only real disappointment song wise was no “Wrecking Crew”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them not play that classic and even their website is named after the song. The encore started with “Coma” off their arguably best album “Horrorscope” ,with DD Verni coming out to play the intro on his double neck guitar which was a great touch. Overkill almost always plays “Fuck You” as their last song and this show was no exception. Usually they play the beginning of it into another song (forever it was Sabbaths “War Pigs”) then finish back up with “Fuck You”. This time they played the punky “Welcome to the Garden State” in the middle and it just didn’t seem to work that well. Bobby “Blitz” has always been a top notch front-man and is always saying funny shit and being a wise-ass on stage between songs as only a New Yorker can fully do well. The rest of the band was on fire as they always are, even with drummer Jason Bittner being sick as a dog and the rest of the band going on very little sleep.
All in all, this was an amazing show and a night I will never forget. Brooklyn Bowl is a great venue with a great sound and getting to meet the band in private room upstairs was a very cool experience. Overkill has always been the working man’s thrash band and it’s nice to see them finally getting some more respect and play bigger shows with more fans. They have always struck a chord with me being a true NY/NJ band and embodying the attitude and hard working nature of the area. They have never sold out, always put out solid releases, and when metal was dead in the mid to late 90s I could always count on them to play a show somewhere close. Here’s to hoping OVERKILL comes back to Vegas sometime soon.
More Band Information
Official Website: https://www.hydraformmusic.com/music/
Official Website: https://www.exhorder.com/
Official Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com/