Black Label Society, Live in Glasgow

Zakk Wylde goes on an extended solo voyage

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Some bands spunk tour budgets on laser-shooting guitars and flashy pyrotechnics; Black Label Society spend their presumably much smaller budget on a giant banner that hangs in front of the stage to hide their shy roadies during the changeover. Such frugality often leads to disappointment – but not when the man throwing the party is Zakk Wylde.

But before BLS take the stage, CROBOT [7] are tasked with warming up the chilly Glasgow crowd. Singer Brandon Yeagley’s harmonica brings an air of country charm to a blistering set by the hotly tipped groove rockers, the highlight of which is The Necromancer. Closer Fly On The Wall leaves the audience wanting more, like any good set-closer should.

Next up are sludge metal trio BLACK TUSK [6], who seem a little subdued. You can hardly blame them, as the Georgia band are still reeling from the tragic death of bass player Jonathan Athon in a motorcycle crash last year. His replacement, Corey Barhorst, is warmly introduced and doesn’t look the least bit fazed by his new role. The evil-sounding Bring Me Darkness is their set’s most memorable moment.

With the departure of Black Tusk, that BLACK LABEL SOCIETY [7] banner is hauled up. When Zakk and co’s entrance track begins, the Berserkers are at fever pitch – it certainly helps that the chosen tune is a bagpipe-led rendition of Flower Of Scotland. In the week that the Scottish Football Association asked fans whether they wanted to keep the song as the national anthem, BLS conduct their own poll, to which the audience wholeheartedly reply: “Fuck aye.”

Zakk appears in a kilt, making Mel Gibson’s Braveheart look as threatening as a Morris dancer. It isn’t a stretch to imagine him leading a cross-border raid, lopping the heads off Englishmen as he advances. The Beginning… At Last gets things off to an intense start before Heart Of Darkness and Suicide Messiah threaten to burst every eardrum in the house.

Critics might say one Zakk solo is indistinguishable from the next, but it’s difficult to do much distinguishing when your face is melting. A 15-minute mid-set solo is enough to send even the biggest fans to sleep, but otherwise it’s a triumphant show from one of the purest of heavy metal axe-wielders./o:p

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.