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Live Report: Black Label Society at Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, October 20

Chris Krovatin is the author of the young-adult novels Heavy Metal & You and Venomous, as well as's “Final Six” blog. The latter book was the inspiration for Deadlocke, a one-shot published by Dark Horse Comics.

On Wednesday, I went to see Black Label Society, who played with Clutch, Children of Bodom, and 2Cents in New York. Here's what happened:

Number of Black Label Society back patches witnessed before entering venue: Six.

Number of said patches witnessed in venue lobby: Seven. Jesus Christ, it must be good to be in this band.

Crowd forecast: Burly and leathery, with patches of hairy and gale-force drunk warning in effect. Skanks have been sighted in many of the densely populated areas.

Hilarious sight: The one kid in spikes and eyeliner here to see Children of Bodom.

First band of the night: 2Cents.

Sounds like: Pantera.

Looks like: Pantera.

Specific Pantera look-alike: Lead singer Adam O’Rourke. Dude’s got an amazing Anselmo thing going, down to the shaved-except-for-one-long-patch hair.

Attendance: Already exceptional for a show like this. The crowd is at least four rows deep with solid bikers.

Number of children in attendance: Four.

Number of said children wearing BLS denim vests: Three.

Price of a child-size BLS denim vest at the merch table: $160.

Price of an average T-shirt at the merch table: $35. Are you kidding me? What happened to 20 dollars a shirt?

Next we have: Children of Bodom, from Finland.

Sounds like: Yngwie Malmsteen crashing his Cadillac into a truck full of Kreator in a crowded intersection. Twisted Sister calls the cops.

To be fair: If you’re reading this, you know what Children of Bodom sound like. This is Revolver, people.

Best track played: “Angels Don’t Kill.”

Number of fingers owned by Alexi Laiho: 47.

Actual biker club in attendance: Members of the N.Y. chapter of the Lost Souls.

Amount this reporter actually knows about biker culture: I’m catching up on Sons Of Anarchy now.

Cool reporter moment: Getting ushered backstage for a meet-and-greet with Clutch.

Amount of free space in Clutch’s dressing room: Two square inches.

Totally lame reporter moment: Spilling a beer on one of Clutch’s set lists.

Good to know: Press cred or not, I still fucking suck.

Next up: Clutch, from Maryland.

Sounds like: A bicep gets drunk and laid in New Orleans.

Last time I saw Clutch: They played a very jammy set, focusing more on their far-out dance elements. It was really chill but not what I was looking for.

This time: Every song is a pounding voodoo-infused muscle anthem.

Best track played: “Animal Farm” off of their self-titled album.

Utter shitshow of the night: The bar post-Clutch, pre-BLS. Who wants a beer? Everyone.

Worst drink special ever: Five bucks for a shot of…spiced rum?

Oh boy: Straight spiced rum! Who doesn’t like that? Everyone.

And finally: Black Label Society.

Sounds like: A collection of walk-on music for the meanest fucking wrestler in the world.

Where do Black Label Society sit in a movie theater: Wherever the fuck they feel like.

Licks: Tasty.

Chugs: Brutal.

Zakk Wylde’s daily diet: For breakfast, a hot stack of buttered denim vests. Lunch is a knuckle sandwich with extra vinger. And for dinner, it’s a big pile of whiskey-marinated chains. For desert, there’s a middle-finger mousse.

Amazing physical feat: The amount which BLS rock the fuck out at their shows. How can you keep thrashing around like that and not get totally bushed?

Favorite song of the evening: “What’s In You.”

Metal phrasology lesson: "SDMF" means "Strength, Determination, Muscles, Forever," and also "Society Dwelling Mother Fucker."

Touching moment: “In This River,” Zakk’s tribute song to the late and great Dimebag Darrel.

Best moment in the “In This River” video: After child versions of Zakk and Dime wander a forest wasteland and swim in a river, Zakk fucking destroys a piano with a hammer, in a river.

The honest truth: You only wish you could honor your dead boys that way.

Best post-concert moment: A woman’s "Happy birthday" song at the diner down the street being interrupted by a dude shouting, “BLACK LABEL SOCIETY!”

Hey, man: They never said you had to like ‘em.

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