SAYREVILLE, NJ—It was a long night of thrash at the Starland Ballroom, made longer by some, but it was clear that most long- haired, beer-chugging metalheads had descended for Jersey’s own Overkill. And why not? It was a fine Saturday for it, and everyone was assured a good time.
But first, there was a veritable ocean of openers—I think I counted five—for the crowd to wade through. Ringing above the pack, second from the headliner was Jersey’s new great thrash hope, DTA, who managed to draw in the otherwise aimless Overkill fans waiting for something, well, good. They were pleasantly drawn in by DTA’s impressively mature songs for a short 20 minutes or so (that’s what happens) but likely made the greatest impression of any opener there. Showing sure footing despite a recent vocalist change-up, with Dave Harris replacing longtime singer Danny Noble, DTA were tight throughout, managing to enthrall the otherwise disillusioned crowd, who had seen enough openers by then to get a mighty opener hangover, or something.
After their too-short set, DTA were succeeded by the too-long Epica. It may have even been the same set time, but I must have gone through about a dozen beers at the bar over the course of their set. Overblown, female-fronted operatic metal with no bite, in the middle of a thrash show, just didn’t resonate.
So everyone waited patiently, but finally, Overkill came out to a great, long-awaited response from the Starland Ballroom crowd. Bobby Blitz, happy to give the ladies in the crowd a good look at his chest throughout the night, kept the energy high throughout the evening, though he could have easily gone through the motions with the crowd so exasperated for the band they all came to see.
Performing a strong cross-section of their best- known material as well as more recent stuff, Overkill put a smile on old and new thrash fans alike on an unusually warm October evening. With few exceptions, it was an endurance test, but it was one Sayreville was more than up to.