Review: Black Label Society – Rock City – 18 February 2015

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How to write your first ever gig review you ask? Maybe by being late for theopening band due to public transport mishaps… Hearing the word around after CROBOT’s set, and knowing their last LP, I do regret missing them. But let’s not dwell on that. I’ve got them on my list of high priorities.

Walking upstairs to the Rock City’s main stage I can slowly feel the level of testosterone rising. It’s not every day you walk into a hall filled with leather, denim and beards. Sons Of Anarchy comes to mind instantly but tonight it’s all about music and the BLS Nottingham Chapter.

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BLACK TUSK are the main support, a band that’s been ploughing through our ears for nearly a decade now. Their set is a nonstop sludge/stoner/trash/swamp, whatever you call it, intense experience. There’s only three guys on the stage but they know what they’re doing and it shows. The trio are sharing vocal duties and that’s one of the things that makes them stand out. In between songs they took a minute to pay tribute to late J.V. Athon, which I was happy to capture, their former bassist and vocalist lost his life in a bike accident last November. Despite the loss Black Tusk decided to tour and hats off for them for doing so with former Kylesa bassist, Corey Barhorst, stepping into the fold. Forty minutes went past immensely quickly giving us a solid dose of honest music played with passion and a good old swamp vibe.

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Time for backline changeover. A BLACK LABEL SOCIETY curtain covers the stage and the wait begins. Rock City is packed and you can feel the crowd anticipation. Sounds of Pantera and a LedZep/Sabbath mashup draws the huge flag down exposing us to a wall of sound and an explosion of lights. Needless to say ZAKK WYLDE owned the building from the very first notes coming from under his fingers. His legendary status is well deserved and anyone who’s had a chance to see him live will confirm it. His band completes him perfectly. Every sound has it’s place and you can feel the joy of performing from all of them.

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Having ten albums on their bill BLS manage to bring on a show worthy of every die hard Berzerker. We travel from full on rock’n’roll rollercoaster to a bit of reflection in the middle of the set just to crush everyone in the house to the ground with the last 20min of the set. That wasn’t just a gig. That was a SHOW with a capital S! The whole stage production makes the whole experience worth every penny. What’s more to add… if you have ever had a guitar in your hand, Black Label Society and Zakk Wylde has to be on your bucket list!

Review and photos : Mike Zimorski

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