Zakk Wylde stands centre stage beating his chest with his huge fists.
He towers above a rabid, baying crowd that’s been hanging on his every move for the past 90 minutes. Tonight the half-man-half-beast and his cohorts casually captivate us all.
Firstly, Crobot justify the hype surrounding them, like a wasp around your lunch, in a whirl of colossal riffs, hedonism and swagger. They join the ever-growing roster of young 70s rock revivalists, yet demonstrate talent, stage presence and material that’ll take them far: The Necromancer being a case in point.
But when tonight’s headliners take to the stage, The Beginning At Last revving its engines, the resulting vibrations freewheel off the Richter Scale. Zakk leads the charge – like the veteran pro he is – across a faultless, decibel-cranking set. Latest album Catacombs Of The Black Vatican is a much leaner affair than usual, trimmed of excess fat, yet retaining the characteristic magic touch BLS replicate here tonight: Damn The Flood’s rolling guitar work and banshee scream harmonics emphatic alongside Angel Of Mercy’s softer, more vulnerable side.
Like Motörhead, the sense of community at a BLS gig is palpable. Everyone’s your friend, and all exit the Academy beaming like sweaty Cheshire cats.