What do you get when you put Body Count, America’s forefathers of gangsta metal, and Australian hip-hop duo A.B Original together? A fucking potent message. That’s what.
Heavy metal, punk rock, call it what you want, Body Count kicked off their latest world tour at The Tivoli in Brisbane last Thursday in brilliant style. Twenty-two years on and they’re still counting the bodies with their sixth, and arguably best, studio album, Bloodlust. And as for the live show, Body Count were big, bad-ass and just as impassioned as ever about delivering their message to the masses – black lives matter.
Whilst Melbourne metallers, Void of Vision, gave The Tiv an appropriately loud, heavy music warm-up, Aussie hip-hop collaboration, A.B. Original laid the perfect foundations for a night of politically charged lyrics and fist-raising, no shit-taking sentiment.
Despite obvious genre differences, the philosophical synergy of the matchup was clear, with A.B. Original geeing up the crowd up to chant “fuck the po-lice” and singing about ‘crimes’ like DWB (Driving Whilst Black), which set the scene for Body Count’s infamous catalogue calling out police brutality, racism and systematic greed.
Demanding the audience’s undivided attention from the outset, Body Count took to the stage amongst flashing police lights, sirens and yellow tape with a killer cover of Slayer classic, Raining Blood/Postmortem. The band then expertly delivered an hour and a half of classic, crowd favourites like Body Count, Manslaughter, Talk Shit Get Shot and KKK Bitch, as well as a slew of songs from the new album with standout track, No Lives Matter.
The band were clearly excited to be there, each artist delivering top notch performances. Highlights included Vincent Price leaping around the stage expertly holding down a gnarly bass line, Ill Will’s epic drum solo, newest band member Juan of the Dead’s hand blurring with speed and Ernie C’s more than entertaining, exaggerated stage presence.
The man himself, Ice-T, gave Brisbane a stellar show, introducing songs with clever banter that felt genuine, personable and connected to the music and audience. And, it wasn’t just entertainment at the packed Tivoli, it was educational too, with Ice-T giving lessons in circle pitting, “Hey you lookin’ like fucking pre-schoolers out there”; telling the youngest audience member (19 y.o) how to deal with bullies, “Talk shit, get shot”; and a step-by-step guide for men on how to scream at a concert, “You gotta tighten that bit between your nuts and your arsehole,” he said.
Of course, no Body Count show would be complete without infamously controversial track, Cop Killer, which was removed from the band’s debut album in ‘92 but is firmly fixed in our social psyche and sadly, just as relevant today as it was a quarter of a century ago. It is worth noting that Ice-T was quick to clarify the song relates to, “Just the bad ones; not the good ones.”
Australian fans, old and new, were delivered an absolute treat in 2017’s Bloodlust tour. While Body Count reportedly had difficulty entering the country (Ice-T said customs retained some of their music equipment), going by Thursday night’s performance, we may just want to keep them here now.
Photo credit @Luke Sorenson Liquify Magazine