Live: Black Label Society / Black Tusk / Crobot

A BLS performance as mighty in stature as Zakk himself.

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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.

Phil Weller

You can usually find this Prog scribe writing about the heavier side of the genre, chatting to bands for features and news pieces or introducing you to exciting new bands that deserve your attention. Elsewhere, Phil can be found on stage with progressive metallers Prognosis or behind a camera teaching filmmaking skills to young people.