Live Review: Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society, Silent Knight

30 November 2015 | 12:28 pm | Gareth Williams

"Black Label Society had the packed venue straining against the barrier, including a respectable amount of crowdsurfing."

Opening for the biggest band in your career thus far is not the best time for a Spinal Tap moment, but that's exactly what happened to Perth's own Silent Knight. The set started with a big dramatic build up and ... nothing. After some confused discussion it was take two and things finally got off the ground. Alas the sound mix proved to be the band's nemesis and plagued them throughout the set. The tenacious locals persevered, however, and it wasn't long before they had the crowd headbanging with horns held high.

A taped mash-up intro of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love and Black Sabbath's War Pigs had the crowd singing along before the first live note was played. With the stage adorned in skull graphics and bathed in red light, the man mountain that is Zakk Wylde (looking more Viking biker than rock star) strode out with his band Black Label Society and proceeded to sonically and visually batter the senses of those gathered in Metropolis Fremantle.

It was a set of few words from frontman and lead guitarist Wylde, but peppered with trademark furious solos — another reminder of why he is one of rock's most respected and technically brilliant guitarists. Accompanied by the thumping beats of drummer Jeff Fabb, galloping rhythm of guitarist Dario Lorina and ably completed by bass player John DeServio, Black Label Society had the packed venue straining against the barrier, including a respectable amount of crowdsurfing.

It wasn't until the 90-minute mark of the two-hour set that Wylde finally spoke, introducing the band and showing his goofy sense of humour by giving each member a professional wrestling name.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Keyboards were introduced with Lorina switching instruments for the ballad Angel Of Mercy. Although the slower tempo didn't stop the crowdsurfing it did show the anti-smoking message must be getting through with only three or four zippo lighters visible. It was then Wylde's turn at the keys, showing that his musical talent extends well past his guitar work. It also gave Lorina a chance to let out his inner lead guitarist on In This River.

Black Label Society gave a solid two hours, with none of the usual visiting rock star "I love this city" bullshit, and put on a battering ram of a set that will be remembered by those who attended long after their ears have stopped ringing.