D.R.I., Mentally Defiled
An Club, Athens, Greece

This was the fourth time for the mighty D.R.I. in Greece and maybe the most unexpected one, as we had seen them less than a year and a half ago. The band didn’t get us used to coming that often the previous years, but on the occasion of celebrating their 30th anniversary, making a stop in Athens was more than welcome. As the band said, it’s always great whenever they visit our beautiful country (in their own words) and we always make them feel like being at home and even better. And as they stated, they don’t say such things every night in every city they play, you could see that they really meant what they expressed, maybe that’s one more reason why they were in great mood and shape throughout their whole performance. The gig started almost right on time and finished before midnight, so everyone left the place more than satisfied.

Mentally Defiled had the honour to open the show and for the next 35 minutes they showed how old school thrash metal should be played live. I dare saying they are much better than the cd and not only they were very energetic and certain, grabbing the golden chance given to them, but they also had a very good sound by their side that helped them perform even better (though I’d personally like some snare/tom sounds to be louder, the drummer kicked ass anyway). Seeing the variation of t-shirts they wore (Verbal Abuse for the singer, Running Wild for the bassist), it seemed that these guys enjoy music in general, despite playing thrash. It was a lesson in sweat, headbanging and speed and when they decided to cover ‘’Suicidal Maniac’’ by Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I.’s bassist (on a Rush t-shirt please) came without a warning on stage to join them and sing the song together. While D.R.I. were playing, he said that Mentally Defiled played great and thanked them for tolerating him on the song. What better credit than this one? Well done guys, future’s yours if you pay attention.

D.R.I. didn’t last 30 years for being a band releasing great albums and for achieving respect from fans of punk, hardcore and metal only. One extra reason for this were the tremendously brutal live gigs they performed throughout their whole career. The shock from the first time I was lucky to see them in 2003 still remains untouched, but each time I see them they seem even more mature and despite they don’t release albums anymore, I prefer it this way, rather than possibly releasing some crap material (I doubt if they could ever do that, but you can never know). Kurt Brecht puts his hat in the right place, Spike Cassidy the great starts riffing and for the next 80 minutes approximately we face a storm of tracks from all their albums and EP’s, mainly non-stop and with the sound being both clean and dirty in the right balance to make them sound as great required for the case. “Who Am I?” opens the show and even those who came to the show without being very familiar with the band, learned the hard way what D.R.I. is about.

With a possible danger to lose the meaning of their performance, I’ll simply state some of the tracks they played, such as “Dead In A Ditch”, “Suit And Tie Guy”, “Thrashard”, “Argument Then War”, “Human Waste”, “I’d Rather Be Sleeping”, “Acid Rain”, “Mad Man”, “Yes Madam”, “Syringes In The Sandbox”, “I Don’t Need Society”, “Abduction”, “All For Nothing”, where all crowd went insane. To be honest, I didn’t expect something less from the 300-350 fans that were there, with members of D.R.I.’s crew catching on camera some great moshpits and some even greater stagedives, with the band only stating that the fans should be careful to the equipment they carried, otherwise the fans could express themselves in any way.

“Violent Pacification” and “The Five Year Plan” put an end to another great performance for the Texan veterans which simply couldn’t help but smiling and really enjoying every moment of praise by the Greek crowd (especially the “D.R.I., OEEEEEEE OEEEEE OEEEEEE” part enthused them so much that they kept on asking about it in any given chance). I don’t know if the band is going to make it for the 40th anniversary, something which most people wish them to achieve, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to see them once again at least after this warm welcome. The promoting company did the best for the schedule to run as planned and the gig was over ten minutes before midnight. The club emptied within a few minutes and we all went home without delay and filled with another great memory from a band which always meant more than said or written. Such bands show the way to newer ones, if the spark is inside them, they can make it a relentless fire. Most possibly though, not bright enough as D.R.I.’s. Happy 30th anniversary guys, may you hit the road as long as you have it inside you.

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.