Black Label Society gets Unblackened as their much-anticipated tour makes a stop in the LA area.

When the doors opened, the stage was set with only two amps, a microphone, and a few guitars. This stage was set for Wino, who opened for Black Label Society. Wino’s acoustic set was strong and was well received by the hardcore BLS fans. A native of San Bernardino, California, Wino was glad to be back in Cali. He sang passionately and his heartfelt lyrics were supported by obvious skill on the guitar. His last song was blessed with JD from BLS on bass and Nick Olivari of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age working vocals and guitar. Great work Wino; keep it up

One may never see a completely “unplugged” version of Black Label Society, but the current tour displays a twist on this theme. Unblackened features some of the most popular BLS songs in a reformatted array, which includes the band sitting down for the vast majority of the show. The camaraderie of BLS fans is ubiquitous at shows. Fans are familiar with the Unblackened live acoustic album and several of those in attendance screamed their requests as the band took the stage and the curtain dropped.

Zakk Wylde sipped tea and water as he moved between seated guitar and grand piano. Wylde and the BLS crew finally found the time to tour the Unblackened album this month, which is a noted departure from a typical show. Each song has been redone in some form, be it in tempo or arrangement. One of the bouncers was expressing concern before the show over stage diving and the physical norms of a metal show. A fellow security guard, who was clearly a fan, assured him it would most likely be calmer. He knew fans would be showing up with the expectation of a masterful musical interaction of a more auditory, rather than physical, nature.

This proved to be so as Black Label Society opened with “Losin’ Your Mind” and “Suicide Messiah.” “Stillborn” is one of the new renditions from the album and popular with fans; this title rounded out the dozen or so songs on the set list.

The Grove of Anaheim is a rather intimate venue despite seeming much larger on the outside. The main pit area surrounds the stage and tiers slant up to provide ample viewing for the fans. It was a great choice for this unique show, as fans were able to see the relaxed atmosphere of Black Label Society’s Unblackened tour and appreciate the varied arrangements and sounds of an original band.

Black Label Society
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The Grove of Anaheim
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