Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Black Label Society at the PlayStation Theater

Zakk Wylde
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt started playing the guitar at the age of eight. While in high school in Jackson, New Jersey, he practiced as much as 12 hours per day; reportedly he often would play the guitar almost non-stop between coming home from school and leaving for school the next morning, then sleep through the school day. He played locally with Stone Henge and then Zyris. In 1988, Ozzy Osbourne hired the 19 year old, now known as Zakk Wylde, as lead guitarist and co-writer, and they performed together for nearly 20 years. Wylde formed Pride & Glory in 1994, recorded his first solo album in 1996, and formed Black Label Society in 1998 in Los Angeles, California. Wylde played most of the instruments on the Black Label Society's first four albums. Black Label Society's 10th album, Grimmest Hits, was released on January 19, 2018. The band presently consists of Wylde, rhythm guitarist Dario Lorina, bassist John DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb.

Headlining tonight at the PlayStation Theater, Black Label Society's stage was visually stimulating, with a tower of speakers behind the standing musicians and a smaller stack under the drummer, with the band's biker-styled logo hanging against the back wall. Center stage, Wylde shook his mane of blond hair over his face as he sang muscularly into a mic stand decorated with shrunken head skulls. Opening with the hefty chords of "Genocide Junkies," the band established that this was going to be a high-fevered, testosterone-dripping heavy metal experience chock full of grungy riffs and dark grooves. As the show progressed, it was increasingly all about Zakk Wylde's ripping guitar leads. Yes, there were strong songs from six of the band's albums and yes, there were three other solid musicians rocking on stage, but Wylde's extended lightning runs commanded virtually all the attention. Fast, flashy and fluid, Wylde dominated his instrument without a dependence on foot pedals or other distortions or effects. It was not simply about speed, however, it was about a sharp, clear tone that was seldom murky. Wylde's played his lengthiest guitar lead behind his head as he walked the audience and back to the stage. Pepper Keenan of openers Corrosion of Conformity joined Black Label Society onstage on "Suicide Messiah," delivering key vocal lines through a megaphone. The concert was a headbanger's delight.

Visit Black Label Society at www.blacklabelsociety.com.

Setlist:
  1. Genocide Junkies
  2. Funeral Bell
  3. Suffering Overdue
  4. Bleed for Me
  5. Heart of Darkness
  6. Suicide Messiah
  7. Trampled Down Below
  8. All That Once Shined
  9. Room of Nightmares
  10. In This River
  11. The Blessed Hellride
  12. Fire it Up
  13. Concrete Jungle
  14. Stillborn