[LIVE REVIEW] BODY COUNT at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne on 02/06/2017

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It has been twenty years since Body Count last hit Australian shores. In that period, a lot of things have changed in the world of Body Count. While frontman Ice-T went from the notorious songwriter who penned the controversial “Cop Killer” (a track even the President at the time had a crack at) to playing a police detective on a hit television series, the line-up for Body Count had to change, as well sadly. Mooseman, Beatmaster V and D-Roc all sadly passed away, meaning that it was a very different looking Body Count that took to the stage at Margaret Court Arena last night.

That different line-up however certainly did not disappoint the audience at hand, though. The set was minimal, but the talent of the musicians certainly was not. After a myriad of flashing ‘police’ lights and radio chatter, the band erupted into a brutal onslaught that early on included a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood”/”Postmortem”. The sheer brutality of the set-list alone caused the pit to erupt into some good natured ‘violence’ of their own… something that certainly impressed the man himself, Ice-T.

As usual, Ice-T was the showman, and it was not in a flashy ‘look at me’ sense, but in a way where the audience could have a good time while he was performing but would then shut up and listen as he delivered some powerful messages about topics as deep as ‘classism’. The highlight of the night was when he singled out a fourteen-year-old kid and gave him some great advice from Uncle T. As expected, Donald Trump also came under fire with T delivering a knockout blow to a fake Trump on the stage.

While there were some strong messages delivered, this was a night that was mainly about the music, and Body Count didn’t fail to deliver there either. Ice-T certainly showed that he hadn’t lost anything over the years, his fast-paced vocals on “Bowels Of The Devil” quickly told the audience that they were in for one hell of a ride as the night progressed. The band took the audience on a journey of their career, and, of course, delivering their controversial hits like “KKK Bitch” and “Cop Killer” (which certainly had the audience singing along). It was a welcome surprise to see them perform “Manslaughter” live, seeing they didn’t tour Australia after the release of their 2014 album, but what blew away the audience was the musicianship of the night. Body Count was really flying by the time they reached “There Goes The Neighbourhood” – Vincent Price delivered some beautifully deep bassline; Ill Will’s drum solo showed his real talent; while Ernie C reminded every Australian just what an excellent guitarist he is. He again delivered a brilliant solo during “Drive By”. One of the highlights of the night though was the audience reaction to “Born Dead”, it was a clear favourite that was well embraced.

While I loved the early material that Body Count played, the fact that I am totally in love with their new album Bloodlust meant that I was mega excited to hear them play their new stuff live, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
“The Ski Mask Way”, “No Lives Matter” and “Black Hoodie” all got a spin, and while I loved their live versions of each, what truly blew me out was the drawn out version of “This Is Why We Ride”. It was such an amazing rendition that shows that Body Count is still a band looking at new ways to deliver their music to their fans.

Body Count certainly delivered last night, showing that they are one band that has bridged that gap of being able to mix a strong political and ethical message with music that shows a form of brutality that you can’t help but love.

Photography by Vanessa Jarvis

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