Getting fully back into concert mode has been fun, but also scary on some levels as a fan. I need live music in my life, bad, but I am nervous around small clubs and tons of people right now, since the pandemic is still a thing. Nevertheless, I got the opportunity to cover legends like Black Label Society, Obituary, and Prong all at the same show, no less, and so I had to handle my emotions and nerves (I have pretty bad anxiety on the reg) and trooped out to Sacramento’s respected Ace of Spades club.
Having been an east coast resident all of my life until 2021, I had always heard Northern California’s metal heads throw down hard at places like Ace of Spades. After several buckets of PBR’s with my show buddy down the block at R15, we went over to the venue with the brightly lit and welcoming marquee. Getting inside the club was fairly fast, the staff was really friendly and great. The venue is awesome with pretty good sitelines, not oversold feeling for a near sold out show. These things are as important to me as a concertgoer as planty of room The venue is awesome with pretty good sitelines, and was not oversold feeling for a near sold out show. These things are as important to me as a concertgoer as planty of room for merch tables and good beers!
The strains of the riffs of the mighty Prong greeted us as we entered since they went on earlier than expected. One of my favorite bands ever, Tommy Victor just writes timeless metal classics, indelible riffs and great lyrics. He also has a killer band with him, with Jason Christopherson on bass and Aaron Rossi on drums. It was great to hear “Beg To Differ” – “Whose Fist Is This Anyway” (complete with epic slide guitar solo) and of course, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.”
Obituary was next and there were a lot of heads in the house tonight just to see the Death Metal kings. When people talk about the classic OSDM bands of America, they are mostly talking about Death, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, and Obituary would be pon that very same Mount Rushmore of Gore, for me personally. Opening with “Redneck Stomp” the band opened up a can of whoopass on the crowd and didn’t stop until the set was over. The band seemed very happy and hungry to please the metal starved fans after the last few years. They crushed through a series of bangers including legacy songs such as “Chopped In Half” – “I’m In Pain” – “Deadly Intentions” – and “A Lesson In Vengeance.” With new music on the way very soon, 2022 will be the year Obituary rules all once again!
Zakk Wylde has a cult like following and devotees of his guitar playing are many from back when he got his start with Ozzy Osbourne. Now his twenty-plus year career as a solo act (25 years if you count Pride and Glory) he has carved his own path as an artist both under his own name as a solo artist and with BLS, and a great ambassador for metal in general. As a giant curtain was raised with the iconic BLS logo, the fans roared their approval.
The intro to “Bleed For Me” came on and as the curtain came down, it felt like all the stress of the last year and half came down with it. The fans were enthralled as we sang along with Zakk, their beloved goofy neo-viking raider in a kilt. Andrew WK may be the “god of partying” but even a sober Zakk parties harder than most everyone else. Wailing on his guitar and in top form vocally, Zakk led his crew through hit after hit on this night.
Zakk shredded in every song, be it electric guitar, acoustic or even the piano! With his his longest serving lineup of players, the entire band was tremendous and in the zone the entire set, even for the first show of the tour. His duels with fellow guitarist Dario Lorina are becoming the stuff of legends. Meanwhile the rock solid rhythm section of Jeff Fabb on drums and John DeServio on bass slay all set long too. Between dramatic smoke pots, cool lighting, and great songs, it felt like an even bigger show than it was. Then came the beach balls! Besides the opening cut, hearing “Fire It Up” – “Blessed Hellride” – “Suicide Messiah” – the always tear inducing “In This River” – “Overlord” – “Destruction Overdrive” – and the closer “Stillborn” – BLS capped off an epic night and the crowd didn’t want to leave at the end.
With the new BLS album coming on November 26th, Doom Crew Inc. (MNRK Music) you do not want to miss this incredible tour when it comes to your town.
WORDS BY KEEFY