TVD Live Shots: Black Label Society, Obituary, and Lord Dying at the House of Blues, 2/27

SAN DIEGO, CA | I’ve never been a huge fan of Zakk Wylde or Black Label Society, but that all changed last week in downtown San Diego. The band’s incredible 15-song set flipped the script on what I assumed would be another rock and roll show and instantly converted me to a full-fledged Doom Crew member before the final salvo rang over the Gaslamp district on Thursday night. BLS’s performance was nothing short of brilliant.

Say what you will, I’ve never a die-hard fan of Zakk Wylde. Since his days with Ozzy, Zakk’s always been an incredibly gifted guitarist, but his talent failed to resonate with me on a visceral level. I am not sure why, but I’ve never been overly excited by his extensive catalog of music or live performances I have seen over the years. I was hoping that feeling would change on Thursday night down in San Diego during Black Label Society’s headlining show at the House of Blues.

Opening on Thursday were two bands that didn’t quite seem to fit this bill, Portland’s Lord Dying and the undisputed pioneers of death metal, Obituary. Both bands were unique in their own way with a subset of fans in attendance pushing their way to the barrier for a closer glimpse of their heroes throughout powerful yet abbreviated sets. While Lord Dying was solid, I really enjoyed Obituary’s performance. I would’ve liked to hear a few more than 10 songs, but was thrilled with newer tracks like “Straight to Hell” along with classics jams such as “Slowly We Rot.” Obituary’s set was truly bad ass and they crushed from start to finish.

After a quick stage change, it was now time for our headliners, Black Label Society. As the clock struck 9PM, the House of Blues was now jam-packed as the familiar sounds of Pantera and Black Sabbath rang true throughout the concert hall. The familiar surge of fans to the barrier was underway as flashing strobes illuminated the huge Black Label Society banner that shrouded the stage. Noise levels were deafening and just as Sabbath came to an end, the banner dropped, and smoke cannons blasted into the air. The show was now off to the races as Zakk took center stage in front of his infamous mic stand, blasting out 2002’s “Genocide Junkies.”

Over the next few hours, Zakk Wylde and his incredible band raised some serious hell in San Diego with a 15-song set that spanned his 20+ year career. From “Funeral Bell” and “Suicide Messiah” to “Fire It Up,” there was something for everyone on Thursday night. My personal favorites from the evening were “In This River” and encore “Stillborn.” Wylde’s soulful vocals coupled with his incredible guitar virtuosity took me over the edge and I felt reborn as one of the BLS faithful. Stranger yet, I cannot seem to stop listening to Zakk’s vast catalog—and I’m now hooked on this truly amazing musician.




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