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BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, EYEHATEGOD In Las Vegas, NV

By Junkman, On-Air Personality
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 8:21 AM


At The House Of Blues 2-23-18

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Loud and heavy. Two words that every “Metal-head” should know. It’s tattooed on many. It’s the two words that get our blood boiling and our adrenaline flowing to its highest level. Tonight, in “Sin City” a textbook “Loud and Heavy” lineup, featuring three of the heaviest, loudest bands on the circuit, blew the roof off the House of Blues, to a sold out crowd of faithful head-bangers.

After a grungy, stoner metal set from openers EYEHATEGOD, (featuring former COC member, and current DOWN drummer Jimmy Bower on guitar) CORROSION OF CONFORMITY arrived onstage and launched into a 10 song set that included one song, “The Luddite” from their latest release No Cross No Crown. Celebrating guitarist/singer Pepper Keenan’s return to the band, the COC faithful was out in full force slammin’ and drinkin’; and screamin’ their support, and they were just as loud and amped up as the headliner’s fans.

Keenan looked very happy and smiled a lot as he snarled his way through the set, accompanied by guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist Mike Dean, and filling in for drummer Reed Mullin, was his drum-tech Jon Green, who also plays drums in the Scottish band, THE WATERBOYS. Reports confirmed that Mullin had to have knee surgery, and Green did a fine job behind the kit. Highlights for me included the set ending one-two punch of “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” which raised the energy level in the massive Las Vegas House of Blues to new heights.

A huge BLS banner was lifted across the stage, eliciting a loud roar from the sold out crowd. Soon the lights dimmed and a “mashup” of LED ZEPPELIN’s “Whole Lotta Love” and BLACK SABBATH’s classic “War Pigs” was cranked on the PA system, the banner dropped and out came BLS, opening with “Genocide Junkies” from 2002’s 1919 Eternal release. Zakk Wylde, as always, stood front and center, looking like a Viking as he flailed his long blond hair back and forth and rocked his guitar with notes unheard of from mortal men.

For the next 90 minutes or so, he bludgeoned his “Las Vegas chapter” of the society with a selection of material that included three songs from his latest release Grimmest Hits. Wylde’s band, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Dario Lorina, bassist John “JD” DeServio, and drummer Jeff Fabb were equally up for the task of “sacking the village. “ Lorino adding a bow to the guitar during “Trampled Down Below” from the latest, and piano during the droning “Bridge To Cross” were samples of his talents, that also include shredding guitar and playing rhythm guitar while Wylde unleashes his sonic blasts throughout the set.

While DeServio and Fabb are right ‘in the pocket” as a rhythm section, and smiling all night, it is clearly Wylde who gets the bulk of the attention. Barely saying a word through the first ¾ of the set, he unleashes furious riff after riff, and screaming, pleading vocals to BLS material like “Bleed For Me” and “Suicide Messiah”. Holding his guitars aloft after almost every number and kissing them after many of his solos adds to his god-like status amongst the faithful.

And then, just like that, he turned it down a notch. As his crew hauled out a baby grand piano, Wylde sat behind it and performed “In This River” his heartening ode to his late friend “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN fame. Pictures of “Dimebag” were reflected on the amplifiers behind him and it was a touching tribute for all to share. For the first time all night, the crowd did not move, from what I could see, except for the raised beers and lighters that were used as a salute to a fallen hero to many.

BLS really blew the roof off the place during the appropriately named “Fire It Up” as inflatable black BLS beach-balls were distributed to the crowd, and Zakk Wylde distributed himself-in the form of a walk through the crowd while playing a blistering guitar solo. Using his teeth at times, behind his back at times, doing his trademark “pinch squeals” he did indeed “walk among us” even in the balcony! And not using a wireless unit either. His crew looked like they were deep sea fishing while wrangling with Wylde’s guitar cords, as he continued through the venue. Quite a sight to behold.

Wylde finally opened up during some animated introductions of his band members, showing off his legendary sense of humor to his adoring fans. He finished up the set with the hard rocking “Stillborn” from 2003, and everyone went home beaten, bruised, and happy. The band will be taking a break this spring but not Wylde. He will, once again, be playing in OZZY OSBOURNE’s band on his “Farewell 2” tour, coming to a town near you.


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