Zakk Wylde and Jared James Nichols live review – London, Forum

BLS frontman Zakk Wylde self-indulges on his solo outing, live at the London Forum

Zakk Wylde, live shot

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With his blond locks, biceps and energetic guitar solos, JARED JAMES NICHOLS [7] is like a mini Zakk, and his band’s beefy, Southern-tinged rock proves well suited to the occasion. ZAKK WYLDE [6] himself is a guitar god with the charisma to match.

Burly, bearded and wearing a Wild Bill hat, he saunters onstage clutching one of the many guitars he shreds tonight and looks every inch the rock star, the audience’s shrieks of adoration only confirming his status.

The backdrop is impressive too, its greyscale image of a gnarled tree and two skulls going from eerie to enchanting under the lights. There’s little chat as Zakk moves from song to song, and anyone hoping for Black Label Society hits are disappointed. The entire set is taken from his two solo albums, Book Of Shadows I and II, and with their similarity in sound, everything starts to blend together. While on record, songs like Autumn Changes and Road Back Home – where Zakk takes to the piano – are more acoustic crooning than heavy rocking, live they’re bulked up, especially with those guitar solos. Of course, there are guitar solos and then there are Zakk Wylde guitar solos – technically impressive, but when they’re stretched to self-indulgent levels and included in almost every song over a near two-hour set, even the diehards begin to burn out.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.