When trying to get free tickets to Monster Mania Con failed, I decided the next best thing was see this awesome New Jersey bill. I had only been to the Starland Ballroom two other times, once in 2010 (the first time I saw Overkill with Forbidden and Bonded by Blood) and again in 2013 for Goblin and Zombi. Both were some of my favorite shows out of the many I’ve been to. The day came, I got my hair cut, did some errands then went to my buddy Jay’s house where our friend Ray picked us up and we left for the venue. When we got to the venue at around 8 p.m., it was during a random intermission between the last local opener and Swallow The Sun.
Swallow The Sun
Being the only main band on the bill I had never seen, Swallow the Sun was the one I wanted to see the most. After taking what felt like forever to set up, the band only got to play three songs. While I was disappointed that the set was so short, they sounded great for the amount of time they were able to play.
Next up was another Finnish band, Amorphis. I had seen these guys once before at Maryland Deathfest 2015, where they played Tales from One Thousand Lakes in its entirety. This time they had a set of mostly new material, which as a fan of I was kind of excited to hear.
Our friend Steve who was also at the show went mostly for Amorphis, while Ray and Jay didn’t care for them. As with Swallow the Sun, the sound guy took forever to get their sound right, cutting the band’s set time to about five songs. The songs were mostly later era such as “House of Sleep,” but we did get two older classics “Into Hiding” and “Oh Rich and Poor.” Similar to Swallow the Sun, they sounded great but deserved a longer set – especially since it wasn’t their fault that it was cut short.
Nile was Jason’s main reason to go and I was curious to see how they would do without longtime and iconic singer Dallas Toiler Wade, who surprisingly left the band just before the tour. I had seen them two other times and his stage presence was part of what made those shows so good. Unfortunately, their sound check again took too long and they only got to play five songs, though they sounded great and still had great presence (not to mention considering their length, five Nile songs is still a decent amount of set time).
At around 11:30 came the main event. When I first saw them in 2010, I was blown away by how insane the energy and sound was from these Jersey locals in their home state. Just like last time, acclaimed heavy metal DJ Eddie Trunk introduced the band as they are one of his favorites and close friends. Overkill’s set consisted of mostly later work, from the 2010 album Ironbound and onward as well as some old school classics such as “Feel the Fire,” “Hello from the Gutter,” and “Rotten to the Core” as well as some great covers such as Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” and, of course, the Subhuman’s “Fuck You.” This was a pretty cool selection as it showed that Overkill is a band that continues to write great songs 30 years into their career.