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 Revolvermag.com'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.
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.