It was the turn of London to host Black Label Society on their European tour and the crowd were out in force to witness a night of outstanding live music.
Having released the brilliant album ‘Something Supernatural’ last year, Crobot were one of those bands you had to see live and it was a good crowd that had turned up early to do so. Straight into ‘Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer’ and ‘Skull Of Geronimo’, singer Brandon Yeagley energetically moved around the stage and his white jacket was almost luminescent under the stage lights, as the rest of the band gave it their all in time to the music. Mentioning it was “lovely to see y’all again and thanks for checking us out”, as if almost unaware that Crobot have a lot of fans in the UK, many of which seemed to be there tonight , the songs they played in their set sounded immense, as the vocals soared magnificently over the heavy guitar riffs. After ‘Night Of The Sacrifice’, Brandon asked “we know you like it funky, but do you like it evil?” as the introduction to ‘Le Mano De Lucifer’, before ‘The Necromancer’ with the addition of that delectable harmonica, got the entire crowd moving with its filthy riffs. Also noting that they were “a superstitious bunch” with it being Friday 13th, Crobot delivered an almost bewitching set, that proved this band are just as excellent live. When they next return to the UK after this tour, Crobot warrant a much longer set as it was far too short.
Black Tusk brought to the evening their heavy, sludgy, metal meets thrash style, as the monster guitar riffs pounded the venue and melted your face with the heaviness of it. Mentioning that they “were ready to have some fun”, the guitars were brutal and relentless. With all 3 band members taking turns to bring an intensity to their sound in the form of powerful and gravelly vocals, Black Tusk were taking no prisoners with songs such as ‘Set The Dial’, which had guitars that seemed to be supersonic in their speed. Taking a moment to introduce Corey Barhorst, who has joined the band on their European Tour, Andrew Fidler talked about the very sad loss of Athon only a few months ago and held aloft his beer to raise a toast. As the crowd raised their glasses as well in salute, it was a poignant and touching tribute to Athon, who is very much missed by the Black Tusk family. It was then on to more songs that were dark and almost menacing, with a feral quality about them. The pace of the set was relentess, as the crunchy guitars and a heavy rhythm pulverised the venue. With the chant of “666” being picked up by the crowd as the band launched into ‘Bring Me Darkness’, Black Tusk played a powerful and immense set.
Black Label Society needed no introduction but they started their set with a Led Zepplin/Black Sabbath mash-up that had the crowd singing along to it before the band had played a note. As sirens boomed out across the venue, the was a cheer of delight as the band started playing and the banner was raised. With a mixture of songs from their latest album ‘Catacombs Of The Black Vatican’ as well as some older BLS classics, from the opening track ‘The Beginning…At Last’, the band captivated the audience with a spectacular performance. ‘Bleed For Me’, ‘Suicide Messiah’ and ‘Damn The Flood’ were immense as the band were backed by a wall of speakers. With the vocals of Zakk Wylde being on epic form, the crowd fist-pumped their way through every song. The guitar solos were of epic proportions, and this left absolutely no doubt that Zakk Wylde is one of the greatest guitarists on the planet, as he coaxed his guitar into incredible sounds, that were at times almost mournful and in other places, seemed to speak to the crowd. With plumes of smoke rising from the stage and a light show that illuminated the venue, this was not just a gig, it was a show that was captivating to watch from start to finish. Asking of the crowd “can you dig it?”, tracks such as ‘Angel Of Mercy’ and ‘The Blessed Hellride’ went down a storm, as they were treated to monster riffs, a piano and even a vocal delivered by loudspeaker during the set. BLS don’t just play, they put on a brilliant performance and tonight was no exception, as Zakk pummelled his chest and the crowd cheered out, horns aloft. Telling the crowd how it was “lovely to see the almighty London Black Label Chapter”, this was a not just an event, it was a BLS gathering. As the final song ‘Stillborn’ came to an end, Zakk held his guitar above his head, confetti pumped out across the crowd, fists were raised in a final salute and there was no need for an encore to what had been an amazing set.
Tonight it was all about the SDMF and Black Label Society totally managed to GIFD.