On a traditional winter's night in Melbourne, an unusual evening unfolded as an atypical metalcore, hip-hop and thrash/punk lineup unfurled upon Margaret Court Arena.
Melbourne hip-hop/metalcore outfit, Void Of Vision, were put in charge with warming up punters although facing a very vacant floor for the first half of their set. With the band donning matching moniker branded baseball jerseys, frontman Jack Bergin, tore his tonsils loose as he strained to contest the bottom end of his band. He might need to book an appointment with the throat doctor this week. Emotion is all fine but not to the detriment of your vocal future.
Keith Bailey (also known as DJ Total Eclipse, from New York group The X-Ecutioners) appeared on the stage next with his decks and soon after was flanked by Indigenous hip-hop duo, A.B. Original, to a swelling audience.
"Don't worry about what the name of the venue is!", Daniel Rankine (aka Trials) surprising suggested, referring to the recent controversy over Margaret Court voicing her disappointment over Qantas' support for marriage equality. Rankine's counterpart, Adam Briggs (aka Briggs) wisely parted his own suggestion, "Don't do ice".
Together they both smashed a politically heavy, anti-racist, set to a crowd who were predominantly metal-heads from the burbs. But nevertheless, they were openly appreciative, applauding and chanting throughout their set.
22 years in arrears, Body Count had returned to Australian soil and wasted no time tearing into their Slayer medley "Raining Blood/Postmortem" off their recent album Bloodlust, and the crowd curled into ballistic mosh frenzy twenty rows deep.
First addressing the crowd with, "How dare you turn up to a show late!" by the man himself, Ice-T, in a joking manner, saw the floor booing at the late stragglers pouring in from the outside bars. Soon after he introduced his bandmates: Vincent Price on bass, Little Ice as the backing vocalist, Juan of the Dead on rhythm, Ill Will on drums and the legendary and only original member, besides T, Ernie C on lead guitar.
The title track from 2014's Manslaughter and "There Goes The Neighbourhood" from 1992's self-titled album followed, with the pit swelled further with approval.
"Sometimes I sit at home and wonder what the world would be like without racism, class shit and religious persecution," revealed Ice-T with a ruckus acknowledgement from the crowd before coat-hanging a fake Donald Trump who appeared on the stage.
Prior to "Talk Shit" and "Get Shot", T singled out a young lad in the crowd asking him for his age. To the boy's response ("14"), T went straight back, saying: "Fuck me! Why are you at a Body Count show? You could be at a Justin Beiber concert... I've been a cop on TV longer than you've been alive."
The night carried on with steadily until expected closer, "Cop Killer" set the crowd into a blistering frenzy.
All photos by Carl Neumann.