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04/03/2009 Black Label Society, Sevendust, Dope, The Infinite Staircase (Rochester, NY @ The Main Street Armory)

By Eric | April 4, 2009 9:36 am

Adam and I arrived within five minutes of each other, and much like Shinedown, there really was no line to speak of, and the place wasn’t that crowded at first. We milled around during the first band, The Infinite Staircase. A four-piece from Staten Island, they sounded pretty decent, nothing earth-shattering. Apparently their drummer is Sebastian Bach’s son.

Up next was a band I’d hoped I’d never seen again: Dope. They’re still not any better, and mercifully, they only got a half-hour set. Die Motherf*cker Die, indeed.

Adam and I waded into the thick of things during set change, and after chatting up a couple of the people around us, the full-contact sport known as a Sevendust live show began. And they switched the set up a little bit! Opened with Inside, but then we got Alpha! Definitely a fun live song. Then one of the more tiring streches in a 7d set I’ve experienced: Denial, Pieces, Clueless, Waffle. They brought it down a quarter of a notch with Suffocate and Praise, into Ugly, then finished it up with Bitch and the usual frenzied closer, Face To Face. Sevendust show number 12 was easily one of the more enjoyable ones, everyone down front was very cool, most everyone was a 7d fan, so lots of screaming along too! Awesome awesome awesome.

We got out, caught our breath, got a drink, got a picture of the Sevendust setlist from the soundboard (didn’t get to keep it, ah well), and camped out in front of the soundboard to watch Zakk and the Doom Crew do their thing. I had not seen Black Label Society to this point, and I’m glad I caught them this time. To me, they don’t seem like the type of band where you’re going to be in the pit and throw down; even though they’re heavy, they’re more of a chill type band, sit back, chug some beers, and have a good time. And we did. There’s a reason that Zakk Wylde is considered one of the premier guitar players in metal today, and we saw it. Every song had great solos, the trademark squeals, and the rest of the band was more than capable at backing him up. What stood out to me was the ease with which Zakk transitioned to playing the piano for the slower numbers (Damage is Done and In This River), and the fact that he can do that just as well, and he can actually sing when called upon (I’d argue that most of the regular “heavy” BLS songs are not stunning vocal displays). After “Fire It Up”, we were treated to an extended Zakk solo (literally, it was just him up there), which culimnated in a great take on the National Anthem. Zakk seemed genuinely appreciative of the crowd, constantly referring to “the Rochester chapter of the Black Label Society” to much crowd approval. No worries about curfew on this night, as the show didn’t end until about 12:40am! It was a great show, great crowd, and a fun night all around. Apparently BLS has been playing the same setlist for the last couple years, with slight variations, and tonight was no different. But since I’ve never seen it, it was quite alright by me!

BLS Setlist: Black Mass Reverends, Destruction Overdrive, Faith Is Blind, The Rose Petalled Garden, Suicide Messiah, Genocide Junkies, Damage Is Done (on piano), In This River (on piano), Fire It Up, Guitar Solo / Star-Spangled Banner, Stoned And Drunk, The Blessed Hellride (both Zakk and Nick had double-necked guitars for this one!), Concrete Jungle, Stillborn.

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