Chris Loomis

Black Label Society @ House of Blues San Diego – 02/27/2020

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Does Zakk Wylde ever stop touring? If he is not touring with Zakk Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Generation Axe or Experience Hendrix he is fronting Black Label Society who played the second date of their North American Crusade Tour at House of Blues in San Diego on Thursday night February 27. For this trek BLS has hooked up with Florida Death Metal pioneers Obituary and Sludge Metal heavyweights Lord Dying. Never a dull moment with Zakk Wylde around, this tour was surely to be interesting with the mix of extreme metal genres.

Lord Dying kicked off the night with a short but heavy set that certainly got the Heavy Metal blood flowing in the packed House of Blues. With a short break in the action for a set change, all caught their breath and re-filled their beers before Pat Travers “Snortin Whisky” blasted over the PA just prior to the first notes of the mighty Obituary tearing into “Redneck Stomp” – a crushing instrumental the band typically starts their shows with before vocalist John Tardy hit the stage as the band played “Sentence Day”. Although it’s hard to stay still hearing Obituary the pit and body surfing that is standard at any Death Metal show was held to a minimum mostly due to most of the fans there to see Black Label Society on this night.

Now even though the crowd participation may have been weak for Obituary that did not stop them from brutalizing San Diego in typical Obituary fashion. The pummeling double bass and blast beats served up by drummer Donald Tardy can only be compared to an earth quake while bass player Terry Butler added his thunderous bass lines. The guitar duo of Trevor Peres and Kenny Andrews scorched the ears throughout as the band blasted through “Visions in My Head” and “Straight to Hell” and ended their set with of course “Slowly We Rot”. A killer set that had Obituary play a bit of a different group of songs than recent headline shows and hopefully gained some new fans in the process.

The Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin mashup cranked throughout the venue as the large BLS curtain fell to the floor and Zakk Wylde, Dario Lorina, John “JD” DeServio and Jeff Fabb kicked into the hard hitting “Genocide Junkies” off the 1919 Eternal album and then right into “Funeral Bell”. With his trademark lumberjack beard, BLS jean vest and Kilt, Wylde wasted no time demonstrating why he is without a doubt one of the greatest guitar players on earth as he pummeled his signature Wylde Audio guitars with razor sharp precision and scorching pinch harmonics.

With ten studio albums under their belt, BLS has no shortage of material to choose from as they played three songs off their latest offering, 2018’s Grimmest Hits. Now six years with the band, rhythm guitarist Dario Lorina complements Wylde nicely as he wails on his own Wylde Audio guitar (gotta be nice when the boss has his own line of fiddles). The rhythm section for BLS is tight . . . John DeServio is a beast on his 5-string and a spectacle to watch play with all kinds of crazy hand movements, DeServio is just funky as Hell and his partner on the low end, Jeff Fabb holds it all together nicely with his hard-hitting style.

The piano was rolled out for “In This River”, originally a tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell but now the song honors both Dimebag and his brother Vinnie Paul (RIP). What would a Black Label Society show be without a guitar solo and some serious shredding . . . during “Fire it Up” both Wylde and Lorina disappeared from the stage and re-emerged up in the balcony amongst the fans. Wylde perched on one side and Lorina on the other, the two traded off licks and riffs that virtually set off the fire alarm! The night also included CO2 cannons, giant BLS beach balls thrown out into the crowd – just a good ole fashioned rock n roll show.

The show ended with Black Label Society’s biggest hit and one of Zakk Wylde’s greatest riffs – “Stillborn” as all fans in attendance sang along and were headbanging like there was no tomorrow. Zakk Wylde proved once again he is magnificently talented, a guitar God, vocalist, pianist and all around amazing entertainer. The San Diego Chapter of Black Label Society went home boozed, bruised and hopefully no broken bones. To quote Zakk Wylde regarding the night in San Diego, “Big Black Label Thanks to the San Diego, CA Chapter for a Pummeling BL Quilt Craft/Sewing Festivus Miracle on Ice”.

Black Label Society Set List:

Genocide Junkies | Funeral Bell | The Rose Petalled Garden | Heart of Darkness | Suicide Messiah | Trampled Down Below | Seasons of Falter | Peddlers of Death | Spoke in the Wheel | In This River | The Blessed Hellride | A Love Unreal | Fire It Up | Concrete Jungle | Stillborn

Obituary Set List:

Redneck Stomp | Sentence Day | A Lesson in Vengeance | Visions in My Head | Find the Arise | Don’t Care | Straight to Hell | I’m in Pain | A Dying World | Slowly We Rot

Obituary Photo Gallery:

Black Label Society Photo Gallery:

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