Black Label Society
in New York
Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Thursday, November 16, 2006 @ 2:17 PM
As the sirens blared, and
the red strobe lights light up the Nokia Theatre, in Times Square, Black Label
Society hit the stage at 9:30 P.M. and performed a powerful 90-minute set of
old and new favorites.
Opening with the new song
"New Religion", Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society ripped
through the opening
with a vengeance. BLS are known to have intense crowds, but tonight's male
dominated crowd were out in full force sporting their BLS colors, as the BLS
New York Chapter was not for the faint of heart.
Zakk Wylde and band were
there to get the party started, as the momentum of the night from start to
finish never let up, as the band ripped in a set that was carefully
orchestrated and featured all of the Black Label favorites.
Hot off a sold out
Australian tour, Black Label Society sounded polished and tight. All eyes were
on Zakk Wylde as he captured the crowd's attention with his masterful
shredding. As Zakk Wylde took center stage, the band proceeded to slam into
old favorites, "Been A Long Time," "Suffering Overdue", and "Funeral
Zakk even played homage to
his roots, teasing the crowd with the intro to "Iron Man." What
is really noticeable on this tour is how tight the band sounds. Pittsburgh
Nick Catanese layed down a driving guitar rhythm, that gave the band a
really full sound. The rhythm section of JD DeServio, and Craig
Nunenmacher proved to be thunderous, as the two never missed a best,
laying down the funky bass grooves that hold Black Label Society
Zakk Wylde displayed his
signature whammy bar slam on "Suicide Messiah", "Fire It Up",
and "Concrete Jungle".
What I also noticed on this
tour, was that Zakk is returning to his early Pride and Glory
days, southern rock sound. Black Label Society is including a very special
acoustic set of three
on this tour. Although Zakk is playing piano, and not guitar in the acoustic
set. The melodic acoustic set really brings out the diversity of the band, in
this rare acoustic performance.
Guitarist Nick Catanese is
also getting a chance to play lead on "Spoke In the Wheel", and
"The Last Goodbye." This is a nice change of pace, as
Pittsburgh's Pride and Glory gets to step into the spotlight, and
perform some very nice guitar work with his new,"Shot to Hell" guitar
On "Spoke In The
Wheel" Zakk's vocal style sounds a lot like that of Gregg Allman
(Allman Brothers). On this love gone wrong song, you can feel the pain, as
Zakk sings the blues! One of the biggest highlights of the set was when Zakk
dedicated, "In this River" to Dime, and did the sign of
the cross. This moment was so moving. Definitely, one of the most moving songs
of the night. On the "Last Goodbye", Zakk sounded a lot like
Ozzy. This sound was also outstanding, really a good choice to perform
live, capturing his great songwriter ability. The acoustic set was a great
chance for the fans to see the band in a rare unstripped, raw moment. Nothing
pretentious about it. The performance was real, and very up close and
personal. The band performed from the heart, with deep emotion.
I had the opportunity to ask
guitarist Nick Catanese about performing with Zakk, the new "Shot to Hell"
release, and the diversity of the new Black Label Society
On performing with Zakk, and
what Zakk has taught him as a musician:
The party was just getting
started, as BLS ripped in "Fire it Up", with beach balls flying in
the air, this song has to be one of my favorite BLS tunes. Great catchy riffs,
infused with Zakk's whammy bar effect really brought the crowd into a frenzied
state. The song also featured a stellar 10-minute guitar solo, in which Zakk
demonstrated a flawless performance.
CATANESE: Zakk has
taught me to just be yourself. Practice all the time. You can be never good
enough, play from the heart and be yourself.
On playing guitar solos on
"Spoke In The Wheel", and "The Last Goodbye".
fucking insane playing solos that Zakk wrote. I hope I am making him proud.
I'm trying anyway. But yeah, it's an awesome feeling. The first night I did
the solos I was shittin' my pants. But it's all cool now. I love it.
On "Shot to Hell", the
latest Black Label Society Release on Roadrunner Records.
CATANESE: "Shot to
Hell" has everything, great heavy grooves, and slow piano songs for the
"Book of Shadows" people. It has everything, I think. "Shot to Hell" is just
the start, we have been going strong for 10 years, but this is the new
beginning of Black Label Society.
On performing the song
actually about LA or NY, or any city in general. You always see freaks in
the streets, not a lot of nuns with shotguns. But just the point of how you
can do a lot of people watching. Hell I do it in the mirror everyday.
The interesting aspect of
the BLS show tonight was the band wasn't afraid to play new material. BLS
performed "Concrete Jungle", and "Black Mass
Reverends", and I must admit these two songs were easily two of the
best songs in the set. Fast and furious, bass player JD DeServio belted
out the driving bass grooves on "Black Mass Reverends." It was great hearing
songs off of the new album being performed live. Most bands would only play 2
songs of their new album, but BLS performed four new songs. I think too, the
more the fans here the songs being performed live; the more "Shot To
Hell" will grow on you.
BLS ended the night with
"Stillborn." This was the bands second show on the tour, and BLS
was there to play! Definitely check out the "Shot to Hell" Tour,
when it hits your area. If you are into blistering guitar solos, a great
acoustic set, and just overall stellar musicianship, you won't be