Having a 4am alarm call is nothing unusual for me. I’ve held down the same job for over 18 years with six early starts every week. My early alarm call this time last year was not for work, but a wake up call to get up and drive to Liverpool airport for a 7:30am flight to Amsterdam. My final destination was the sleepy town of Zwolle to catch New Jersey’s finest sons Overkill.

Overkill’s only UK date in 2015 was at the Bloodstock festival, so any self respecting thrasher couldn’t turn down the opportunity to head to the continent for a relatively cheap and easy trip to the Netherlands. Plus with main support on the Euro leg of the tour being Seattle’s Sanctuary it had to be done.

Besides a gig or a football match, if my team ever reach the European stage again, I’d have no reason whatsoever to visit Zwolle. Walking through the sedate streets and along the river bank to my hotel you wonder why a noisy metal band are playing here, but the same can be said of most places I’ve seen bands in Holland.

My bed for the evening happened to be within spitting distance of the venue, the Hedon. With almost every venue I’ve visited in Europe the Hedon is another superb place to watch a band.

Opening up proceedings was Swiss female fronted band Suborned, who had a tough time in front of of the sparse Dutch crowd. Italians Methedras fared a bit better, but the eventual capacity crowd were only here for the two bands from the United States.

Sanctuary have only played two English shows since 1988 and that night they were as solid as I’d hoped for, and for me it was good seeing them indoors and playing track from Refuge Denied and Into The Mirror Black, two albums that have been with me since my school days and I’d only previously seen them once on a festival stage.

Bobby Blitz and D.D. Verni with their band of reprobates were promoting the superb White Devil Armory release, but surprisingly only played two track from it, but their sixteen song set managed to represent ten different albums spread across their now almost 36 year career. Like so many bands in this genre from that 1980’s era they are getting better with time.

I get to see Overkill in the UK again in a matter of weeks. After an eight hour flight from Toronto (off to see Iron Maiden) then a further three hours or so driving from Heathrow to Stoke. Later that evening I have a 50 minute drive to see them and Vader in Manchester.

I really fancied their Oberhausen show later in April where they’re playing Horrorscope and Feel The Fire in full, but I left it too late. I might have another look at flights sometime soon though.





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