November 24, 2013 – Stage 48, New York, NY
“It may be freezing out there, but the metal’s still HOT, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!” – Bobby Blitz’s greeting
It was fucking freezing that night, and I needed to feel the fire.
It was one of those tours where both bands are of roughly equal stature and you aren’t sure who should be opening first. But I’ll leave that decision to the tour manager. This was an extreme thrash metal fan’s dream duo: Germany’s legendary Kreator and New Jersey’s legendary Overkill, with respected up-and-comer Warbringer providing support.
For my money, I was a bit more excited for Kreator, even though Overkill was (and is!) a pretty cool band in its own right. Having both started around the same time in the early 80s (and listened to each other’s songs as they progressed!) Kreator and Overkill naturally complimented one another. Indeed, their similarities were uncanny. They had both enjoyed a renaissance over the last few years with strong, relevant new material (with Ironbound and Phantom Antichrist). Heck, to this day I even consider the songs “Pleasure To Kill” and “Overkill” to be about the same character!
Both vocalists were roaring out with a fury that should have been impossible for men of their age. It amazes me that Mille Petrozza and Bobby Blitz’s voices are still in such good shape after doing what they do onstage night after night for decades.
This thrashfest was on its final legs by the time I saw it–the 2nd of 2 sold out shows at New York’s Stage 48. It was my first time in the building, and it was a cool space. Normally a glitzy nightclub with see through staircases and multiple bars and levels, Stage 48’s generous floor space was now taken over for metal. I estimated the crowd size at around 400.
Kreator came on first, and they were exactly what I had hoped for; over a dozen beautifully-executed anthems that straddled the line between thrash metal and death metal. Frontman Mille Petrozza was an intimidating mountain of metal presence, his furious growl still intact and urging on a “NEW YORK STYLE…MOSH PIT!!!” But then again, any of Kreator’s songs, from older ones like “Pleasure to Kill” and “Betrayer” to recent hits like “Enemy of God” and “Violent Revolution,” are enough to get crowds moving.
1. Phantom Antichrist
2. Death to the World
3. Extreme Aggression
4. People of the Lie
5. Coma of Souls / Endless Pain
6. Pleasure to Kill
7. Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
9. Enemy of God
11. The Patriarch
12. Violent Revolution
13. Civilization Collapse
14. Flag of Hate / Tormentor
Petrozza had his humorous side too: “Zis is ze first time vee are playing zis building in…tventy-fore hours,” he joked.
For Kreator’s encore, per tradition it came time for him to hoist an actual “Flag of Hate”–but as Petrozza started waving it, judging from the laughs and cheers around him, he glanced at it and realized it was an Overkill flag, not a Kreator one. “Silly fuckers with zere end of tour pranks,” he laughed.
Eventually he got his Kreator flag back, and treated us to a beautiful metal image: waving it aloft in defiance as the club’s red lights filled the stage.
The colors then shifted from red and orange to green and purple for the entry of Overkill. As the musicians opened with “Come And Get It,” Overkill’s frontman Bobby Blitz waited until the last possible second before sprinting out and diving on top of his mic stand to start singing. Blitz and Overkill had arrived. They matched Kreator track for track.
If Mille Petrozza and Kreator are that scary, intimidating, angry-drunk group of guys sitting at one end of the bar, Overkill was that raucous, happy-drunk bunch of guys who keep ordering pitchers of beer for everybody. And both groups looked as if they could start a brawl at any moment. “Come and Get It,” indeed.
As they never failed to remind us, this was a local crowd for Overkill–which meant that they poured even more energy into their show than usual. And despite his apologies to the contrary–“I feel like a grandpa, I need to catch my breath for a sec here!”–Bobby Blitz did not show his age in the slightest. His evil-madman shriek dominated, and he contorted his body all sorts of ways around his mic stand like an acrobat.
1. Come and Get It
2. Wrecking Crew
3. Electric Rattlesnake
5. Rotten to the Core
6. Bring Me the Night
8. Who Tends the Fire
9. In Union We Stand
13. Fuck You
“Who Tends the Fire” had the bald headbanger in front of me jumping up and down screaming, “OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!” like a psyched up little girl who has just gotten a pony for her birthday. “Electric Rattlesnake” had one drunk chick next to me stumbling around more forcefully than usual. “Elimination”‘s tremendous energy made it impossible to stand still. And of course, Overkill recognizes that sometimes you just have to raise your middle finger and yell, “FUCK YOU!” Which we did. Multiple times. Over and over. It was cathartic.
The merch booth was unloading gear at half-price for the end of the tour, and Overkill shirts were customized by location: Don’t F*ck With Texas for San Antonio and “F*ck You, Eh? for Toronto (I had to get that one). So I got a shirt for each band, 2 for the price of 1–just like my ticket to this terrific evening of thrash.
You may not get the chance to see Kreator and Overkill together again, but you WILL get to see them individually–and I highly recommend them both. Great bang for the buck. To this day, as a result of this show those two bands are linked in my memory as thrash bedfellows and barfellows. I can’t listen to one band without wanting to listen to the other next. Their songs and colors all blend together as I fondly remember this show, and Kreator and Overkill both climbing up my list of metal favorites.
Written by Matt P