Black Label Society Kick Off “20 Years Of Sonic Brewtality” In Denver

 

Black Label Society is embarking on a North American tour called “20 Year of Sonic Brewtality” hitting various cities for a two night onslaught of music while coincidently celebrating the soon to be released new reimagined version of their iconic ‘Sonic Brew” album from 1999. On Wednesday night April 24, the band kicked off the tour at the Oriental Theater in Denver, CO.

New Jersey psychedelic rockers The Atomic Bitchwax opened the show. The trio featuring bassist/songwriter Chris Kosnik, drummer Bob Pantella, and guitarist Garrett Sweeny ignited the crowd with their blend of 1970s riff rock mixed in with heavy modern progressive rock.

Unfortunaley after the set by The Atomic Bitchwax,  the power went completely out at the Oriental Theater. Luckily the venue had a back up generator so fans were not left in the dark but it took nearly an hour to restore the power. Because of the delay, UK doom metal trio Conan would be skipped.  I was looking forward to seeing the band live and luckily fans with tickets to both nights would get another opportunity.

After the signature mashup “Whole Lotta Sabbath” blared from the PA, the curtain dropped as BLS bursted into the bone crushing opener “Bored To Tears”. The setlist on the first night would not be any surprise as the band played the entire ‘Sonic Brew’ album sequentially top to bottom. If you enjoy when artists play a set focused on one album, you would love it. Guitar god Zakk Wylde dressed in a checkered Scottish quilt and vest, stood tall in-front of his signature skull decorated microphone often stepping on his riser whipping his hair around shredding solos. One the highlights early was when Wylde sat at the piano and played a haunting version of “Peddlers Of Death” turning the solo over to guitarist Dario Lorina. As the band ripped into “Black Pearl”, black balloons printed with the ‘Sonic Brew’ logo were released into the audience as fans slapped and punched them around the venue often landing onstage. If you have ever seen Zakk Wylde live before you knew what was going to happen towards the end of the show.  Mid way through the song “World Of Trouble”, Wylde backed by security jumped off stage and headed to the balcony where he would play an improvisational epic guitar solo lasting at least ten minutes. After finishing on the balcony, he returned to the floor of the theater and finished the solo with a mob of fans circling around him holding up their cell phones trying the document the guitar hero in action.

It is hard to believe that ‘Sonic Brew’ is celebrating twenty years and it sounded just as good today with an added injection of 2019. The Denver chapter of crazies went home rejuvinated with many back for night two.

Photos and review by Jason Bullinger