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Darius Reviews BLS/7Dust @ The Wiltern

18 May 2009 10 Comments

By: Darius

BLS Tour Flyer

BLS Tour Flyer

I was in attendance at the Sevendust/Black Label Society show last week at Los Angeles’ fabulous Wiltern Theatre. Incredible night of music. Sevendust has long been one of my favorite bands; I have seen them all over the country and they never disappoint. Seeing the ATL metal kings share the stage with Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society made for an especially great evening.

Lajon of Sevendust

Lajon of Sevendust

Sevendust came out on fire and played one of their heaviest sets I have witnessed. They were prepared for the Black Label audience. I was admittedly concerned with how Zakk’s crowd was going to treat one of my favorite bands, especially after observing the tepid response from Disturbed’s fans a few months ago. However, the audience was tremendous and gave the mighty Sevendust the response they deserved.

Let’s be honest, this band has been around for many years and have never received their proper due. Few groups live on the road and kill it on stage night after night like Sevendust. The set list went something like this:

Master of Puppets>Walk>We Die Young
Face to Face

“Enemy” and “Deathstar” were thrown in there somewhere. But check out that medley of covers! Much to the delight of everyone in the Wiltern, Sevendust ripped into the opening notes to Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Than after a couple of minutes, they segued into Pantera’s ”Walk”, and finally the Alice in Chains classic “We Die Young”, with guitarist Clint Lowery providing the vocals. Unreal.

I have seen Sevendust many times and I have never seen them do anything like this. I’m normally not going to be amazed by a band playing cover songs, but this metal medley really worked and the crowd ate it up. Huge response.

This experimentation was just one of the few new things I have noticed about the band in the last year alone. Guitarist John Connelly has taken up a greater role in singing as well. He used to just go out there and thrash around the entire time; now he is providing a lot of the backing vocals alongside fellow guitarist Clint Lowery. The band is also jamming a little bit on stage. Lead singer LaJon Witherspoon has never been shy with the microphone, and now he gets to pontificate on his love for music and “all the beautiful people” and “thank you so very f*cking much” with some nice riffage going on behind him. Hey, small details but these are things you pick up on when you’ve been seeing the same band play for 10 years.

All in all, I couldn’t have been happier with the set, the performance, and the crowd response. I’ll never grow tired of seeing Sevendust, because they only get better on stage and they do a decent job of mixing up their set list each tour. This was the first time I’ve seen them play their breakthrough hit “Bitch” in about 5 years, which was very refreshing. So even after putting out their worst studio effort, last year’s horrendous Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow, Sevendust restores my faith that they still have it just by seeing them live.

I also want to mention how great it is having Clint back in the fold. I really loved Sonny Mayo’s contributions in Sevendust, particularly on Alpha, their heaviest release yet, as well as his dynamite stage presence. However, it’s just hard to replicate the chemistry between the original group. Clint’s backing vocals were sorely missed as well; songs like “Suffocate” just aren’t possible without him. I couldn’t be more excited to hear his contributions on the next Sevendust record.

Zakk Wylde

Zakk Wylde

Black Label Society was also fantastic. Let’s be honest here, Zakk Wylde is one of the best guitar players in all of metal. Period. What he can do with a guitar is nothing short of amazing; its easy to see why he has been Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man all these years. I saw exactly what I expected: excellent musicianship, self indulgent yet completely badass guitar solos, and rowdy metal heads with leather vests and bandannas going crazy. All the hits were played, including the Dimebag Darrell tribute “In This River”, in which Zakk played piano underneath huge Dimebag tapestries.

Towards the end of the set, Zakk Wylde played what seemed like a 15 minute guitar solo. It just kept going until concluding with the “Star Spangled Banner”. Cliché but whatever, it was awesome. I walked away surprised at how many Sevendust fans were in attendance as well as the genuine camaraderie between the two groups. LaJon was rocking a BLS leather vest on stage.

It was a great show and I hope to see both bands again soon. Black Label Society recently announced they will be touring all summer long with Mudvayne and Static-X in tow. I absolutely hope to catch one of those shows. Meanwhile, Sevendust heads overseas for an ambitious tour schedule through Europe as well as playing numerous dates in Iraq for the armed forces.

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  • zebo said:

    lajon is not wearing a bls vest. if so that is the coolest bls vest in existence

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • darius said:

    he was wearing a BLS vest (that picture is from a different show). one of the guys in BLS presented it to him on stage, since it was the last date with 7dust.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • born-of-osiris said:

    Zakk always plays the Star Spangled Banner. I hate when people get on him for the Americana routine. Can Zakk and artists like Kid Rock just love this country?

    I agree with the statement on 7D’s new album. I wouldn’t say it’s “horrendous” but I can safely say it felt forced. Seemed like Alpha b-sides.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ArchedIsisByleveling said:

    I applaud the band for heading back to Iraq. I believe they were there last year. They don’t publicize their trips like Drowning Pool. I agree with Darius and born above that the new Sevendust is shit.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dennis said:

    Are you sure they didn’t play Black?

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  • budbundy said:

    I’ve seen them 4 or 5 times and they opened with Black all the times with the exception of the last time they opened with Inside.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • icedearth4 said:

    Zakk is starting to look sickly lately like Peter Steele. It’s scary.

    I don’t think Alpha was their heaviest album but heavy doesn’t necessarily mean good. I do agree that Chapter 7 was a step backwards.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • polishpower said:

    What is he thinking touring with Wayne Static and Mudvayne? Sevendust is great and never recieve the respect they deserve. That covers medley sounds sick.

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  • thedisciple said:


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  • rippered33 said:

    Lajon regrew his hair. Conoly cut his. Boy band gay.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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