Zakk Wylde could easily be the most metal guitarist of all time. Last time he played Wembley Arena with Ozzy he was the support and the headliner. He even had his own half hour solo in the middle of the latter set and was on stage for pretty much three hours straight. That’s pretty metal. So we thought we’d head down to Hammersmith Apollo and try counting the number of pinched harmonics the mountain man had to offer in one night. We lost count before the first song had finished…
Six things we learned when Black Label Society came to London:
- If you’re an unsigned band that manages to blag the main support slot to Black Label Society on their entire European tour, there is a strong chance you are going to do indefinite damage to your career by playing to massive crowds before you are ready for it. Godsized are ready for it and take the Hammersmith Apollo stage like they’ve played it a million times. It’s staggering how these guys have already perfected the art of writing massive Southern metal tunes, and yet haven’t even recorded their debut album. It’s like hearing Alice In Chains jamming with Orange Goblin, with a modern Black Stone Cherry twist. Seriously, watch this space.
- We all know Zakk Wylde is one noisy fucker. His neighbours probably hate him. Tonight he is louder than ever and on a mission to make ears bleed. You know that feeling you get when there’s so much low end being pumped out by the PA that each kick drum hit induces a mild heart attack? We haven’t been this deafened since we saw Airbourne here, but we wouldn’t expect any less from Black Label Society.
- Tonight’s setlist leans towards Black Label Society’s latest material since The Blessed Hellride. Despite opening with ‘The Beginning… At Last’ off the Sonic Brew debut. Fair enough, we would have all loved a bit more off 1919 Eternal and hell even some slices of Pride And Glory (ain’t gonna happen) but Zakk’s got a new album to promote and his priorities quite rightly lie there.
- It wouldn’t be a Zakk Wylde gig without a ludicrously long guitar solo. And you know what? Not one boring second. He’s got enough chops to play all week as far as we’re concerned.
Black Label Society @ London Hammersmith Apollo - 21 February 2011 - BACKSTAGE PHOTOS!
- It must be said that Zakk’s looking better these days. He gave up the sauce after being hospitalised a year and a half ago and has stuck to it. For a man that was dedicated enough to name his band after booze, that’s pretty impressive. Tonight he’s knocking back the beers on stage. But luckily it’s alcohol free beer. Good for you, Zakk.
- At first Hammersmith Apollo sounded like a big venue for Black Label Society to headline, especially in comparison to the venue capacities for the other UK dates, but tonight the London Chapter are out in force. Admittedly the set did feel short but after a terrific support act, some impressive pyro, the customary heartfelt tribute to Dime and a confetti climax, the beer-drenched crowd can’t have felt short-changed.
Black Label Society @ London Hammersmith Apollo setlist:
The Beginning… At Last
What’s in You
The Rose Petalled Garden
Parade of the Dead
In This River (Zakk on piano)
Fire It Up
Godspeed Hell Bound
The Blessed Hellride