Black Label Society
Live at The Fonda Theater
June 7th, 2014
Review and Photos by Travis Baumann
Nearly two years have gone by since I saw Black Label Society last and in that time they have released another killer full length album that currently has become my favorite of theirs so I was really looking forward to seeing them again.
The previous outing was a mid-day outdoor festival so I was also excited to see them in an indoor evening appearance in order to get the whole lighting show package and dark atmosphere that they lend with their doom-filled metal.
The new album is called "Catacombs of the Black Vatican" and they started off the set with an awesome track from it called "My Dying Time".
Stepping back to the previous release, their second song was "Godspeed Hellbound" off of "Order Of The Black", another rocking anthem that illustrates what Black Label Society do best.
On this tour they had a second guitarist, a bassist, and drummer in addition to the legendary Zakk Wylde on lead and vocals. The guitarist and bassist assisted on back up vocals as they have previously. The guitarist was a new member since I saw them last but the other members were the same as when I saw them two years ago.
Moving even further back into their catalog of releases they did "Destruction Overdrive" off of "The Blessed Hellride" which other than the new album would be the release that they went to the most out of the set list.
Taking fans all the way back to one of their earliest releases, "Sonic Brew", they did "The Rose Petalled Garden" which was cool to hear live.
They moved forward to the latest release for two more rocking tracks with "Heart of Darkness" with all its doom-heavy riffs and followed that up with "Damn The Flood" which has an awesome upbeat groove.
Zakk made his name by playing guitar for one of Metal's biggest names and has long been known for his legendary skills on the axe so it was time to show it off. The rest of the band went off stage as Zakk moved to one side of the audience and proceeded to shred. He then moved over to the other side of the crowd and did another blazing solo. Finishing up by moving center stage and ripped the strings a third round.
The band rejoined the stage and they played "Parade Of The Dead" another great track off of "Order Of The Black".
A grand piano was revealed on stage and Zakk went behind it to bring the sound down to a somber ballad with "Angel of Mercy" off of the new album.
Kicking things back up to speed they did "In This River" off one of their older albums, "Mafia".
In between songs at this point, Zakk introduced the band but not in a normal manner. He suddenly took on the persona of a WWF announcer calling out physical dimensions, stage location, and tool of choice as if his band mates were professional wrestlers coming into their respective corners of the ring.
They finished up the set with three awesome songs; "The Blessed Hellride" off the album of the same name, "Concrete Jungle" off of "Shot To Hell", and closed out the set with their hit "Stillborn" off of "The Blessed Hellride" album.
It was a really cool show with a spectacular sound system at the Fonda and a great ambiance with their dark and moody lighting scheme and huge banner in the background.
The Black Label Society create a unique atmosphere with their fan base in that they refer to each city as Chapters of the BLS and it is like the fans are all part of some secret society or biker gang bonded in their love for great music and like minded subject matter.
Next time they are in your town, become a Chapter member and check out the show, you won't be disappointed.
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