BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, TUSKAR

A Updated
ZakkWylde1
TuskarSupport to ZakkWylde
Zakkwylde2
Zakkwylde3

We are all willing participants to worship the art of Heavy Metal.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, TUSKAR
London: Electric Ballroom – 08th June 2022

Tuskar were a surprise to me; largely instrumental other than primal screams, with a huge focus on the drums which were positioned as prominently as the only other instrument, the guitar. It was like a very loud anger management therapy session, except for the fact that they paused and stood for applause at frequent intervals. “We’re just gonna smash this and enjoy it!” they declare. They do indeed appear to be making it up as they go along, with little discipline or apparent following of any song that I could discern, although admittedly I am unfamiliar with their material. The smell of weed is pungent in the pit. They have the unquestioning confidence of a five year-old showing you their wildest creation. As they leave they shout “Buy our album, it’s quite good.” Not really for Melodic Rock fans shall we say.

Zakk Wylde takes the stage just as supremely confident, but with a lot more to back that up. Mostly a classic set, he also included a few newer tracks from last years ‘Doom Crew Inc.’. release. The band has an instantly recognisable sound, and coupled with the elevated platform that Wylde uses to stand on in his kilt and raise the guitar high in the air like a pagan priest, the whole thing has the air of a pre-Christian religious experience (although, of course, there is a large crucifix on the mike stand and a cascade of skulls worthy of Golgotha). The point is we are all willing participants to worship the art of Heavy Metal.

I am writing this after also seeing the band at Download, and while Wylde definitely put a lot into this performance, it’s a much smaller audience and he was less “lit” at this inside venue than he was on stage in front of thousands more people, for obvious reasons. Also, there were problems with the sound as it seems the Electric Ballroom cannot cope with the sheer volume coming from the band, meaning that at times it is difficult to hear everything as the experience was sometimes like a wall of very loud sound. It was more difficult to instantly recognise tracks. Not that the audience minded, they were as devoted as usual with a large contingent moshing hard enough and crowd surfing so frequently it was clearly causing security a lot of concern.

Highlights of the show for me were Wylde on the piano for ‘Spoke In The Wheel’ and ‘In This River’, for which the PA for the Electric Ballroom coped with a lot better than the heavier tracks. These songs were made all the more poignant with pictures of Dimebag and Vinnie Paul projected on the stage screen behind the band. Also tremendous fun were the giant BLS beach balls let loose into the audience for the iconic “Wah – Wah – Wah – Wah” lyrics of ‘Fire It Up’. I was in the guest area in the ceiling of the Electric Ballroom and got an amazing view of the whole venue batting the enormous spheres all around the place. The guitar duet performed on the platform with both guitars behind heads and culminating in a fist bump in the massive anthem ‘Suicide Messiah’ was another high point, as was the finale and other huge classic for this band, ‘Stillborn’.

So, the show was not without fun, drama, fabulous guitar paying and spectacle by any means. However, had I only money for one show I’d like to see BLS in a venue with better sound and
Wylde in his element in front of a stadium crowd. This conclusion was deepened by me seeing him at Download a couple of days later. However, if this was the only show you could have got to you would not, by any means, have been disappointed, especially if you were one of the drunken moshers who by all accounts had the time of their lives.

Dawn Osborne

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