August 13, 2018 Black Label Society Come Alive The Paramount Huntington, NY 8-10-18 w/ Corrosion of Conformity & Eyehategod
Time after time, life can often take us by surprise. One minute we are happily heading down one path, but then, from as if out of nowhere, in the blink of an eye, a series of unexpected events threaten to derail our good time. During the first full week of August 2018, for the Heavy Metal fans of Long Island, New York, getting to see a great Rock show proved to be a daunting challenge. On Tuesday, August 7th, the Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson: Twins of Evil Tour was scheduled to take over the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY, however, following the opening act, Long Island was hit with one of the worst lightning storms in recent memory, forcing the show’s cancellation, and leaving thousands of concert-goers completely bummed out. Sure, getting a full refund of your hard-earned cash is nice, but it is no comparison to experiencing the amazing Rock show you dreamt about the night before.
Praise the lord for second chances, because at the opposite end of the same week, on Friday night, August 10, 2018, three of the hardest-hitting bands in Heavy Metal – Black Label Society, plus special guests, Corrosion of Conformity, and Eyehategod – rolled into The Paramount in Huntington to hand deliver the local Metal scene a headbanger’s paradise. Black Label Society is no stranger to The Paramount stage, having played the venue back in 2015 on the Unblackened Tour, performing the band’s tamer cuts.
This time around, on tour since fall 2017, Black Label Society have been tearing up stages around the world, performing a full-blown set of unadulterated Metal. Come 2018, Black Label Society released their tenth studio album, Grimmest Hits, and, alongside Corrosion of Conformity and Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang, brought the first leg of the supporting tour to New York City, playing The Playstation Theater in Times Square back in late January. Upon the announcement of the tour’s second leg, Black Label Society excited fans who may have missed the New York City show by offering a scheduled date on Long Island.
Before a single note was played, diehard Metal fans already packed The Paramount as droves more rushed into the venue not wanting to miss the opening band. Kicking-off the night from the bayou of New Orleans, Louisiana, Sludge Metal quartet Eyehategod – Mike Williams (vocals), Jimmy Bower (guitar), Gary Mader (bass), and Aaron Hill (drums) – stepped on stage, welcomed by stark cheers from rabid fans. Seasoned in Metal, Eyehategod formed in 1988, and have become one of the more popular Metal bands to come out of New Orleans. The band has toured with the likes of White Zombie and have five studio albums, including their latest, 2014’s Eyehategod.
On this night, Eyehategod kept the Sludge Metal theme, bringing a classic Black Sabbath sound opening with “Agitation! Propaganda!,” followed-up by “Parish Motel Sickness,” and “Dixie Whiskey.” As the crowd was all about Eyehategod, the band pounded away on raunchy numbers like “Medicine Noose,” “New Orleans Is The New Vietnam,” “Methamphetamine,” and closed with “Peace Thru War (Thru Peace and War).” A brazen start, Eyehategod enthralled a fiery crowd from the opening slot. For all you Metals fans, make sure you check out Eyehategod.
A monster band, playing direct support, Corrosion of Conformity – Pepper Keenan (vocals/rhythm guitar), Woody Weatherman (lead guitar), Mike Dean (bass), and Reed Mullin (drums) – last took The Paramount stage on September 11, 2017, providing direct support for Danzig. A big year in 2018, Corrosion of Conformity released their latest acclaimed effort, No Cross No Crown, on January 12th, sounding better than ever. Over the years, Corrosion of Conformity stamped their name on the direct support slot for some of the biggest acts in the business (Metallica, Lamb of God).
Business as usual, the Long Island faithful in attendance welcomed back Corrosion of Conformity via a litany of roaring cheers. The electricity in the air told the story, this would be a killer set. Opening via an intro of “Bottom Feeder (El que come abajo),” Corrosion of Conformity burst into “The Luddite,” the first of two hammering tracks the band would perform off the new album. Wall to wall, the crowd was all systems go as Corrosion of Conformity slayed the next two cuts off the band’s biggest album, 1994’s Deliverance, “Broken Man,” and “Seven Days.”
Charging down the runway, Corrosion of Conformity led the call to “Vote With A Bullet” before “Paranoid Opioid.” A brash live act, Corrosion of Conformity bear consummate showmanship, headbanging, engaging with the crowd, and thrashing away on their instruments as if they were fighting a war. As passionate for this music as the fans, Corrosion of Conformity tore through another new lick, “Wolf Named Crow,” before the knockout punch of the final two cuts, “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds.” Taking names, Corrosion of Conformity performed a tough as nails, no frills set, bringing the unabashed crowd to its knees. Without a doubt, Corrosion of Conformity left a memorable mark on the face of the show, leaving plenty of room for Black Label Society.
As The Paramount reached near capacity, gazing around the room you come across fans who are among some of the most passionate Metalheads in existence, wearing their leather motorcycle vests with tremendous pride. These are not just casual fans of Black Label Society, no, these folks live and breathe Metal and Black Label Society. True fans, they know all the words to every song, make it to every show, and can talk for hours about their love for the music.
That said, as the infamous Black Label Society banner was raised in front of the stage, the roadies began setting up for the final showdown. As the last track to play before Black Label Society takes the stage, the sounds of “Whole Lotta Sabbath,” a great mixture of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Black Sabbath’s “Warpigs,” by the mashup artist Wax Audio, rang through The Paramount, riling up the already wired crowd. Then, finally, the lights went out, the curtain dropped, and the mighty Black Label Society stormed into the Long Island chapter led by powerhouse Vocalist/Guitarist Zakk Wylde, scathing Rhythm Guitarist Dario Lorina, thunderous Bassist John DeServio, and bruising Drummer Jeff Fabb.
Never a dull day, as Black Label Society were tearing it up on the opening song, “Genocide Junkies,” about three quarters of the way through, the sound cut out, and the band left the stage. As the lights came back on, the crowd was told that someone, a real genius, pulled the fire alarm, and now the venue is required to turn the alarm off before the show could continue. This left many who had been through the cancellation of the previously mentioned Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson concert three days earlier, thinking “Oh please not again!” A credit to The Paramount, stage hands, and the band, two announcements to the crowd stated the show would go on and asked everyone to hang tight. Though the wait lasted a good twenty-five minutes, the crowd stayed in good spirits.
Pressing the reset button, it was time for the show to not just continue, but restart completely. After the replaying of “Whole Lotta Sabbath,” Black Label Society made a triumphant return to the stage, kicking off once again with “Genocide Junkies” as the crowd roared in excitement. On fire, Black Label Society tolled the “Funeral Bell” as the crowd gazed at Wylde having a shred fest on his guitar, wearing a kilt, while poised in front of a mic stand covered in skulls. Raising his fist in the air, Wylde tortured his strings on the muddy “Suffering Overdue” as the strobe lights blinded during “Bleed For Me.”
A brute force, Black Label Society slaughtered the night, rocking the sweaty crowd on cuts like “Suicide Messiah,” “Trampled Down Below,” and “Room of Nightmares.” Tempering the mood, Black Label Society dyed things down on slower jams like “Bridge To Cross,” before Wylde took his place behind the piano on “Spoke In The Wheel.” A moment beckoning heartfelt claps and cheers, for “In This River,” two curtains – one showing the late Vinnie Paul, the other showing the late Dimebag Darrell – draped the speakers on each side of the drum kit as Wylde, from behind the keys, helped fans connect to their heroes. Following the song, Wylde stated “We love ya Vin! We love ya Dime!,” paying a rousing tribute to his close friends.
The peddle to the Metal, Black Label Society forged on with supreme intensity. During “Fire It Up”, off 2005’s Mafia, the band went off on an ever-so-pleasing tangent, jamming forever in relentless fashion. Becoming one with his fanbase, Wylde continued to melt faces on guitar as he walked through the crowd and up to the balcony. There, Wylde, a force of nature on guitar, positioned himself right at the very top, performing directly across the room from DeServio, Lorina, and Fabb, as both ends rocked The Paramount in possibly one of the most mind-blowing performances the venue has ever seen. Following all that awesomeness, the night was almost over, as Wylde was back on stage, and Black Label Society exposed the “Concrete Jungle” before closing via the band’s biggest hit “Stillborn.”
Redeeming the Long Island chapter, Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity, and Eyehategod, whole-heartedly delivered an astounding night of Heavy Metal excellence to a crowd who really needed this show. After Long Island Metal fans were so disappointed earlier in the week, Black Label Society saved the day as these hard working fans deserved nothing short of an amazing show. Heavy Metal stalwarts, Black Label Society wrapped up the tour in Sayreville, New Jersey, on August 11th, but fear not, Zakk and company show no signs of slowing down. Wylde will now return to Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tours 2 Tour, helping his mentor bid farewell. All this said, Black Label Society should be back kicking-ass before you know it, so don’t miss out!
Photo credit: Andrew Fiero Photography