July 28, 2016 Zakk Wylde’s Revealing Performance At Webster Hall, NYC 7-19-16 w/ Jared James Nichols and Tyler Bryant & The Shake Down
American Singer-Songwriter Zakk Wylde is no stranger to the Metal World. Widely known for his time as Lead Guitarist/Co-Writer for Ozzy Osbourne, and fronting the loudly induced Black Label Society, Wylde has kept himself extremely busy over the last three decades. Forming the successful Black Label Society back in 1998, some may forget that it was two years earlier that Wylde released his first ever solo album, Book of Shadows. Now, twenty years later, Wylde writes the second chapter of his solo career with the April 8, 2016 release of Book of Shadows II, an album that has found its place into the heart of fans.
That in mind, Wylde has toured consistently with Black Label Society; it is no secret that he practically lives on the road. Already, in 2016 he joined Experience Hendrix as well as Steve Vai’s Generation Axe tour, and during the summer months, the guitar god gives fans the ability to witness his softer side with a massive solo tour. Kicking the tour off on July 8th, after over a week down south, Wylde, along with supporting acts Jared James Nichols and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, stopped at New York City’s Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, July 19th, for a night of no-BS Rock-n-Roll.
Garnering a great turn out, Wylde fans rushed towards the front of the stage proudly sporting their Black Label Society t-shirts upon arrival. Little did they know, their early arrival would give them a chance to see the talented Jared James Nichols. Relatively new to many, Nichols has quite a few similarities to Wylde, and it would be no surprise if some new listeners referred to him as a younger Zakk Wylde. Like Wylde, Nichols lives for the stage and guitar as he enjoys sharing his soul through the sound of Blues Rock. This passion was born when Nichols, as a young teenager, received his first electric guitar from his mom, and he has not put one down ever since. Originally from Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles to take his musical career to the next level, Nichols has since shared the stage with artists such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Derek Trucks, and during his visit to the Big Apple, he took many spectators by surprise.
Nichols and his band kicked off the bluesy vibe as he ran across the stage with an electrifying energy as he performed his latest single, “Don’t You Try.” Showing off a tremendous skill set, he went into the catchy track of “Can You Feel It” and the soulful vibes were non-stop as Nichols held out several impressive guitar solos. As the set was coming to an end, Nichols casually joked with the crowd, asking them to buy him whiskey if they liked what they were hearing before going into his cover of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen.” Now familiar to a good number of new fans, it should be more than enough to see Nichols return to New York City very soon.
The Blues drenched atmosphere was alive and kicking as Nashville Tennessee’s Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown were ready to showcase their psychedelic grooves. Another talented young musician, Bryant moved to the city of Nashville from Texas at the age of seventeen to pursue his music career. Shortly after, he met Drummer Caleb Crosby, forming a friendship and what is now known as The Shakedown. As their chops continued to become more aligned with each other, they knew that there was a bright future ahead of them and eventually recruited Bassist Noah Denney and Guitarist Graham Whitford, son of Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford. Releasing their debut album, Wild Child, in 2013, the band gained a following and were featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, thus leading to their signing with Republic Records. Now the band is riding a wave to the top after the release of their powerful 2015 EP, The Wayside, and a run of shows supporting AC/DC.
Ready to take on New York, the band brought along their Nashville spirit as they rushed in with enhanced guitar solos and drummed ensembles. There was an imminent amount of musical freedom where Bryant offered stories to the crowd. Expressing that he used to visit a guitar shop back home in Paris, Texas where his influence of Blues and Rock music began, Bryant continued to explain how he kept this inspiration and moved to Nashville where “music is alive,” as he segued into Muddy Water’s “Got My Mojo Working.” Continuing on with such songs as “Poor Boys Dream,” Bryant and his band wrapped it all up with “Lipstick Wonder Woman.” With the drive and momentum that Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown holds, they are well-worth seeing live, and any who has not heard The Wayside yet, needs to get out and pick up a copy today.
Entertained by two very worthy supporting acts, it was time for the audience to glue their eyes to the one and only Mr. Zakk Wylde. Members of Wylde’s Black Label Society would be the backing band for the night, including Dario Lorina (guitar/keyboard), Jeff Fabb (drums), and John DeServio (bass). Eager to see what Wylde had in store for them, fans could barely contain themselves in the moments prior to the start of the set.
Offering up his multi-talents, the performance would see Wylde dazzle on piano, vocals, harmonica, and of course, his legendary Warhammer guitar. That being said, the most intriguing part of the night was the idea of seeing the softer and spiritual side of Wylde, and it began with the jaw-dropping “Sold My Soul” from the original Book of Shadows. It did not matter what anyone was thinking or feeling, once Wylde took the stage and moved to a momentous guitar solo, time stood still. Amidst it all, Wylde managed to take over the entire stage, placed the guitar behind his back, and grabbed the strings with his teeth. It was a seamless solo filled with unforgettable perfection, and the best about it, is it was only the beginning. Guitar riffing and emotive energy continued with the latest works including “Autumn Changes,” “Tears of December,” and “Lay Me Down.”
Taking the break from the axe, Wylde walked to the piano during the ballad-esque tune “Road Back Home;” a shift the audience enjoyed as Lorina engaged with a solo. An evening filled with riffs, Wylde moved back to his guitar during “Yesterday’s Tears,” however, he took out a harmonica for “Between Heaven and Hell.” During “Darkest Hour,” Wylde continued to fuel the venue with guitar solos while fans embraced the intimate sensations being poured into the air.
Then, without warning, the room went completely dark as sounds of a thunderstorm was heard with lights hitting the stage as though they were lighting bolts before the cut “Throwin’ It All Away” kicked. Even more surprising, Wylde walked directly into the audience during his solo and everyone circled him as they lifted up their cell phones to capture the moment. Despite the movement and crowd maneuvering, he did not seem to miss a note as he left the audience speechless and mesmerized. Quite an amazing moment, Wylde causally returned to the stage to move into “Dead As Yesterday,” “Eyes of Burden,” “Way Beyond Empty,” and “The King.”
With the night coming near its end, Wylde engaged with the audience and comically introduced the band. This light-hearted introduction had everyone laughing, and without any encore, Wylde went into “Lost Prayer.” Wasting little time, Wylde held the microphone and thanked his “New York City Black Label Family,” flowing into the finale, “Sleeping Dogs.” A epic ending, driven by emotion, Wylde shared his love for music by lifting his guitar into the air and kissing it in front of the crowd as a way of saying good night.
The love for music, his bandmates, and his axe was center-stage in an extraordinary way that night at Webster Hall. Music has been his life, and fans had a chance to witness a different side of Wylde’s personality. Blues is not something just any artist can pull off, it surpasses the technicalities, and it is about the performer releasing one’s soul through music, and that is what Wylde did. The tour continues now through September 3rd, so get out there and tap into a moving concert experience.