CONCERT REVIEW: Body Count

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Body Count’s show in Melbourne would seem just like any other concert, but those in the know were aware of a few controversies. The show was taking place in Margaret Court Arena amid controversy over Margaret Court’s stance of same-sex marriage, and both A.B. Original and Body Count have attracted criticism from the media.

I couldn’t enjoy the music the way I wanted as I was recovering from a headache, exacerbated by the loudness of the gig, but I couldn’t just stay home as I was looking forward to Body Count. I had never heard of opening band Void of Vision (metalcore band from Melbourne), but boy, did I hear them that night. My head was throbbing but I did enjoy the stage presence of the lead singer. There wasn’t many people in the venue at this point in time but there were plenty of great opportunities to mosh.

Up next was A.B. Original, the Indigenous hip-hop duo of Briggs and Trial who are most famous for their song ‘January 26’ which reached 16th place on Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2016. The group was warmly welcomed by the crowd, most of whom had come to see heavy metal legends Body Count, but there is a connection between the two groups. Body Count frontman Ice-T, of course began his career as a hip-hop solo artist, and A.B. Original noted their admiration for Body Count.

The pair were committed to their craft. They had great stage presence, funny banter with the crowd, and the songs delivered a good set, although it was quite short. Once they finished up, it was Body Count time!

I’m a new fan of Body Count. Before the show I had only listened to their excellent new album Bloodlust and a few of their older hits. The crowd, as you’d expect from an older metal act, consisted of many different age groups, including a 14-year old brought there by his dad, which as Ice-T noted is fewer years than he has played a cop on Law & Order.

The show began with the intro samples from the ‘Civil War’, the opening track from Bloodlust. Instead of doing that song, the samples went straight into a cover of ‘Raining Blood’, with a snippet of ‘Postmodem’, both from Slayer’s Reign in Blood record. I was disappointed to not hear ‘Civil War’ as it is one of the highlights of Body Count’s new album, but the Slayer cover was still a brutal way to start the show and get the moshpit going. Slayer fans are notorious for the way they mosh.

Interestingly, two of the band’s six albums were completely absent in the setlist. The band’s infamous self-titled debut saw seven songs represented, and those tunes sounded like old-school thrash metal. “Cop Killer” (or the “national anthem” as Ice-T called it) went off.

The show got political with “No Lives Matter”, a song doing well on the music charts. It was Body Count’s statement on how it’s not just race, but socio-economic status that’s the issue. No-one cares about those who are poor, he stated before the song played he stated how no-one cares about those who are poor

When a band has been around for a long time, a way to tell how good their new album is the crowd reception. The fans were eager to hear the new songs from Bloodlust, and sang the words. The show was better than I expected, and it’s a shame I couldn’t go into the mosh because of my headache, but I saw how insane it was.

For 22 years fans waited for Body Count to return, and the aggressive moshpit was their way of showing appreciation. Hopefully Melbourne won’t have to wait that long for Body Count to return, because I’m keen to see them again.

Words by Stefan Bradley.