GIG REVIEW: Body Count, A.B. Original & Void of Vision Live at The Tivoli, Brisbane
Living in Australia, there are certain bands that you sometimes reserve yourself to never seeing live because whether it be due to the cost of getting them over here, or through difficulty in scheduling or any other number of factors it just doesn’t seem to work out. Body Count for me was one such band as I was only 5 years old during their last tour here, but finally getting to see them on Australian soil, supported by A.B. Original and Void of Vision was like a dream come true.
Void of Vision opened the night and did a pretty commendable job for a band that only had a five, or possibly six song set. They managed to get the crowd interacting with them a fair bit which was good to see, but unfortunately the drums sat too high in the mix and being inside this particular venue, they absolutely overpowered all the other elements of the band’s music. It meant that what most of us were left with was the knowledge of the band having a really good drum section, and the inability to decipher how well the guitars or vocals were. That’s an audio/venue issue though and not a band one, and for the most part their performance was pretty damn cool even if it was only for five songs, especially the times the guitarists and bassists did their synchronised spins or drops.
A.B. Original was next and absolutely tore the roof off venue. The hip hop duo were flanked by DJ Total Eclipse and put on a performance that won’t easily be forgotten. Their back and forth interplay, coupled with a consistently rotating stage location meant that absolutely every corner of the stage was covered, but it was their lyrical delivery that packed the greatest punch. Only contending with the DJ deck and samples in the background meant that they weren’t plagued by the same issues that their predecessors encountered, and after you combined everything together you were left with a performance that was engaging, introspective and downright entertaining. These guys were every embodiment of the term “perfect support” and if you have the opportunity to get to a show on this tour early to catch them then I implore you to do so.
Body Count had waited 22 years to return to Australian soil, and boy did they make it known that it had been far too long. Coming out to the siren blaring introduction to their track “Civil War” with red and blue police lights illuminating the stage, their entry couldn’t have been any more spectacular with the venue absolutely erupting when the band, and figurehead Ice T came out and dived straight into “Reigning Blood/Postmortem”. I wish I could accurately label the air of emotion in the room that moment that the band walked on stage, but it was one of those moments that is best described by the age old adage “You had to be there”.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch a very long list of musicians, but I have never seen a band so freely perform for their fans as Body Count did. Even from that pivotal entry moment and first song, the crowd engagement was second to none and didn’t let up for the entire night. Led by Ernie C, Vincent Price and Ice himself, the band managed to make every member of the crowd feel included in each of their songs. Ernie C somehow managed to find a way to play, engage the fans, and throw out a bucketload of guitar picks without missing a note; and what can I even say about Price on Bass? If you can find me a more charismatic and entertaining Bass player in this current day then I would be pretty damn surprised. The way he owned every corner of the stage, and engaged with every single fan is quite literally one of the best performances I have seen from a musician, let alone a bass player. Even Ill Will on drums was truly remarkable and made all of his parts look completely effortless, and did it with a smile and a wave to the crowd every time he could.
Ice himself was far more of an entertainer than I thought he would be. Engaging the crowd, pacing the stage from side to side to sing in the face of fans, and performing far above and beyond what he would need to have done to earn a positive reception from the crowd. It was the little things like hi-fiving the fans in the front row, donning a ski-mask for “The Ski Mask Way” and even at one point assaulting a stage intruding Donald Trump (one of the crew wearing a Trump mask) and telling the crowd that he had the situation covered that just made his presence on stage truly inspirational.
The band covered a wide range of songs off their catalogue making a nice spread across their entire discography, but one ample enough to ensure that fans that saw them on their first tour Down Under, and fans that weren’t even born at that time were able to enjoy what was being played. With a large emphasis on favourite tracks it was a very clear to see that this was a set list cultivated for the fans, and their reception to it couldn’t have been any more favourable.
There was also obviously a large emphasis on the lyrical content of the tracks and their meaningful undertones, with Ice continually taking the time in-between songs to discuss his views on racism; divulge extra information behind the meanings of particular songs; or share his views on the current outlook of the world. These frank and earnest conversations are what endeared this performance from being something that would have quite easily been rudimentary in the hands of another band, but under Body Count’s guidance elevated it to something that was much better and so much more than initially anticipated.
Continuing to showcasing his amazing storytelling ability Ice found a section midway through the set to ‘adopt’ a 19 year old fan on the barrier, stating that “You weren’t even born when I started Law and Order were you?” This exchange went back and forth before Ice proclaimed that everyone in the venue, including himself was now an Uncle to this fan, before moving in to offer some more intimate advice which then became the catalyst for the band to start their track “Talk Shit, Get Shot”.
After performing the “world first” Virtual Encore, the band closed up with “This is Why We Ride” a song about togetherness that fittingly helped to characterize the bond that had been forged between band and fans on this night. It took 22 years for Body Count to return to Australia with so much changing in that time, but one thing that was obvious on this occasion is that the love for Body Count Down Under has never changed; and with a performance like the one in Brisbane, it’s very difficult to see why that won’t be the status quo that will remain for some time yet.