Black Label Society completed a sell-out run of Irish dates, with a full-on show of strength, pride and glory at Belfast's Limelight on Monday night (9th April 2018). Bringing to an end their European trek, the show came as part of the band's first ever Irish tour.
Monday night's appearance followed shows in Dublin on Saturday night (7th April) at the Tivoli theatre, and a gig at the Limelight on Sunday (8th April), with Zakk Wylde's band proving an extremely popular billing, because of, or despite their lack of Irish shows in the past.
Kicking off with sludgy opener 'Genocide Junkies', BLS oozed attitude and sheer ferocity from the off, with one thing abundantly clear; they don't open many shows like this anymore. Marching straight into the relentless drive of 'Funeral Bell', this was going to be a night of heavy metal music, in all its bombastic and exciting glory.
The southern stomp of 'Suffering Overdue' followed, and with Wylde soloing wildly and trading licks along with fellow guitarist and "Master of cured meats" Dario Lorina, the scene was set for what was to follow.
Saying little, Wylde preferred to let the music do the most of the talking. Save for a few appreciative gestures - head nods and chest pumps - and a nod to the "Belfast Chapter" of the Black Label Society, Wylde's sheer presence communicated all that needed to be said during the first half of the evening.
With trademark hair swinging back and forth and his exaggerated gestures, the Ozzy Osbourne man has a unique approach fronting his band. A natural born guitar hero, he changed axes at the same frequency that former employer Axl Rose changes outfits, showing off a variety of six-strings from his own Wylde Audio range.
Finally greeting the crowd during the band introductions, the New Jersey native said; "It's great to see our Belfast Black Label family".
Going on to change the pace significantly, the moody and melancholic 'Bridge To Cross' introduced a piano-heavy laid back set, that also featured the Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque lament of 'Spoke In The Wheel', and Dimebag Darrell tribute 'In This River'.
Getting back to blood and guts basics for the final run through, Wylde announced; "Lets tie this thing up", before going walkabout for a thrilling extended solo during an explosive 'Fire It Up'. Making his way through the crowd, the never shy player shredded in among the BLS faithful, performing with his guitar behind his head, using his teeth, and even taking to the bar for a catwalk appearance for those at the back of the club.
Taking their final bows at the end of their three day Irish run and European tour for latest release 'Grimmest Hits', Wylde and company left to deafening cheers.
Stay tuned for eonmusic's EXCLUSIVE interview with Zakk Wylde, to be published later this week.
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Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Warren Blair. Click on the image to enlarge.