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BLACK LABEL SOCIETY Live In Milwaukee, Wisconsin With Photos!

By Chaos G, Nomad Contributor
Monday, April 27, 2015 @ 7:19 PM


At The Rave

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All Photos By Chaos. G - © 2015 Smoking Barrel Photography

As the masses adorning the distinctive Black & White BLACK LABEL SOCIETY merchandise stormed the venue, there was no mistaking what was set to go down Sunday, April 12 at ‘The Rave’ in Milwaukee… Zakk Wylde & BLS had rolled into town. Normally, fans [Which Zakk likes to refer to as ‘Family”] would be gearing up to have their collective asses handed to them via the ‘Black & White Machine’. What actually happened was a mixed bag.

This time around, Zakk & Co. embarked on a twelve-date tour run, coined the ‘Unblackened’ tour 2015. Prior to the tour start, Zakk, was quoted “I always wanted to take Unblackened on the road, we just didn’t have the time until now. You can take a song that you’ve played thousands of times and rearrange it, and all of a sudden it’s something totally fresh. The attitude of the songs doesn’t change when we play them acoustically. The tunes are gritty regardless”

The attitude of the songs may not have changed, but the spirited/enthusiastic attitude of the beloved virtuoso was noticeably tame… not a typical adjective used to describe the intense performances Zakk is famous for. Yes, this is an ‘Unblackened’ version of the band & material, but it wasn’t the absence of ’spinning windmill hair-flips’, ’stage-antics’, mind-numbing volume & distortion or that all members performed the entire set sitting… it was what seemed to be Zakk’s lack of wholeheartedly wanting to be there. One thing to mention, Zakk needed to use lyric sheets for the entire set. Seemed odd. On the other end of the spectrum, JD DeServio’s engaging smile suggested the bass guitarist’s cheerful spirit was alive, well & intact. Drummer, Jeff Fabb, looked right at home behind the double-bass kit, obviously stoked & enjoying himself whilst effortlessly keeping time. There’s no question, ’The New Kid on The Block’ - Dario Lorina, possesses the infinite skill-set to partner with Zakk’s otherworldly talent, but he’s one of the most stoic guitar players in recent memory. The look on his face never changed. Emotionless, distant, deadpanned, dare we say appearing apathetic. Could this all be by design?

Zakk’s reservations only wavered when he was introducing the band & couldn’t resist unleashing his unique sense of humor. Other than that, things seemed ‘off’. To assert this point, it must be mentioned that a good portion of the attendees left around the halfway mark. Fans could be heard in many different iterations stating the likes of ’This is a weird show’, ‘What’s wrong with Zakk?’, ’This is definitely not a BLACK LABEL SOCIETY show!’ & ‘I’ve never walked out on a BLACK LABEL SOCIETY show before!’ When you listen to music, there’s nothing else to focus on. When you’re witnessing a live show, it’s usually dominated or at least equalled by showmanship & performance. Logic dictates the absence of the latter, played a big part in peoples dismay.

To be fair, everyone has ‘off’ days, & this may have been one for Zakk & the boys or as aforementioned, it may all be by design. Now to play devils advocate; the actual musicianship was paramount across the board & they’ve never sounded better. Everything aside, the night was an exuberant sonic experience laced with some of the most blistering string of notes ever to be played. The ‘Unblackened’ flavor is not for everyone, & it’s a shame that those will miss out on what will arguably go down as some of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY’s most prodigious shows stripped down to bare fundamentals.

SETLIST:

  • "Losin’ Your Mind" [Pride & Glory]
  • "Suicide Messiah"
  • "Road Back Home" [Zakk Wylde]
  • "Spoke in the Wheel"
  • "House of Doom"
  • "Machine Gun Man" [Pride & Glory]
  • "Sold My Soul"[Zakk Wylde]
  • "Angel of Mercy"
  • "In This River"
  • "Scars"
  • "Empty Promises"
  • "Throwin’ It All Away" [Zakk Wylde]
  • "The Blessed Hellride"
  • "My Dying Time"
  • "Overlord"
  • "Stillborn"
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Chaos. G - © 2015 Smoking Barrel Photography


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