Sunday, August 3, 2014

Concert Review: Black Label Society + Wovenwar + Kyng @ The Vogue, Indianapolis, Indiana - July 30, 2014

Black Label Society living up to their legendary status.
After wrapping up a disappointing Mötley Crüe show a few weeks back (Opener Alice Cooper was great, as always!), a friend of mine excitedly mentioned that he wanted to see Black Label Society, who would be playing at The Vogue near the end of July. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the band, I agreed to go because 1) a show is a show and, more often than not, they're a blast, regardless of the artist performing, and 2) this would be my second time seeing them, and I wanted to see how they compared almost 10 years later.

Never did I anticipate how loudly Black Label Society would project across The Vogue's tiny floor space: the sheer force of the bass overpowered everything but the drums, and filled the room with a rumble only an adrenaline junkie could love. In terms of sound, the four-piece certainly took the crown Wednesday evening, and I don't think that could be contested. Kyng was very good, of course, and the most entertaining of the night, but Black Label Society's sound reached another level, so much that I moved to the back of the room after the third song. Even with earplugs, it was a bit much.

Newcomers Kyng impressed right away.
But very few fans felt that way, and I seemed to be a unique case. Sometimes I wonder if I value my hearing a little too much, going to extreme lengths to protect against irreversible damage, but my efforts have admittedly paid off, and I hope retain it for years to come. When you're an avid music listener, listening for hours upon hours each day, as well as a musician, some level of OCD is expected, I think.

Predictably, Kyng was a joy to watch, from the way they interacted with the crowd, their stage presence, and how they transitioned from song to song. Pepe Clarke Magana was an absolute monster on the drum set, destroying the bass pedal on Kyng's excellent rendition of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher, to rocker "Burn the Serum," where he obliterated the cymbals with careful precision, to the extreme metal influenced "Shoreline." Eddie Veliz and Tony Castanada were fantastic players, too, perfectly synchronized in their main and backing vocals and during instrumental sections that gave them a chance to shine. And, while I can't name many of the songs from the set yet, I can safely say that Kyng is better live than in the studio.

Stage Set-Up: Black Label Society
Zakk Wylde was the star of the night, however, reeling in Black Label Society's legendary status one number at a time. His patented riffs, accentuated by pinch harmonics, were in full force, just as one would expect, and his solos left a fiery trail each time he unleashed the skill set he built his reputation on. Like 2005, when I first saw Black Label Society, he positively slayed and tracks like "Funeral Bell," "Suicide Messiah," and "Concrete Jungle" delighted the crowd the most.

The lineup's oddball was Wovenwar, a band formed by former As I Lay Dying members, when vocalist Tim Lambesis was arrested for hiring a hitman to murder his wife. The music was much too poppy and streamlined for a bill with Black Label Society and Kyng and, quite honestly, poorly written. The majority of the songs were composed of nothing more than chugged, one-note "riffs" and sloppily played leads, which gave the music a false sense of depth. And don't even get me started on the vocals, which were short on power and drive. Not my cup of tea, clearly.

In the end, Kyng was the takeaway for me. Discovering a new artist is always a good thing and, when one sees a veteran band in the process, the deal only gets sweeter. I could have done without Wonvenwar, but no concert is perfect. I can only hope that they're a short-lived offshoot and quickly fade away with As I Lay Dying because, if I'm being truthful, I never want to see or hear of them again.


Setlist for July 30, 2014

Black Label Society

1. "The Beginning... At Last"
2. "Funeral Bell"
3. "Bleed for Me"
4. "Heart of Darkness"
5. "Suicide Messiah"
6. "My Dying Time"
7. "Damn the Flood"
 - Guitar Solo -
8. "Godspeed Hell Bound"
9. "Overlord"
10. "Angel of Mercy"
11. "In this River"
12. "This Blessed Hellride"
13. "Fire it Up"
14. "Concrete Jungle"
15. "Stillborn"


1. "All Rise"
2. "Death to Rights"
3. "The Mason"
4. "Tempest"
5. "Matter of Time"
6. "Profane"
7. "Archers"
8. "Identity"
9. "Prophets"


1. "Burn the Serum"
2. "Sunday Smile"
3. "Trails in Veins"
4. "Electric Halo"
5. "Hot for Teacher"
6. "Falling Down"
7. "Shoreline"


  1. It was a good show. Sorry I missed Kyng, and glad I only caught the end of Wovenwar. I thought BLS' setlist lost a little steam after the (slightly overlong?) guitar solo. I still enjoyed their performance from start to finish, but my wife was groaning a bit.

    And thank you for introducing me to the term pinch harmonics! I absolutely hate that he does that so much, but couldn't ever articulate what exactly it was he was doing. One of the worst trends in modern metal, imo, and it seems like it's everywhere these days. Like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Just play the damn notes regular-like! :)

    1. I felt BLS' setlist was a bit long as well, but they were still enjoyable. I get sick of standing at concerts and tend to groan myself, so I can relate. The concert would have been perfectly sized if Wovenwar was omitted from the bill.

      No problem on the pinch harmonics bit! Hopefully we cross paths at a show one of these days.

    2. Definitely. What's on your radar? Thinking I'm going to hit AiC on the 19th. Prong and Overkill in Kokomo Oct.4 is definitely calling my name (that new Prong album is pretty killer) and Artillery & Onslaught at The Headquarters Oct. 29 should be interesting. Still kicking myself for missing D.R.I there...

    3. The new Prong record is definitely very good; I just haven't written anything on it. I had no idea that Prong/Overkill and Artillery/Onslaught are supposed to come through. Same with Alice in Chains. I just automatically assume that we're not going to get decent shows in Indy.

      I'll try to go to one or more of those. Artillery would be great to see, and Overkill is supposed to be wonderful live.

  2. Nice review! I saw BLS open for Priest on the Epitaph tour and had the same experience. Just too loud. So much so I could not distinguish one song from another. I love their music and I love it loud but there comes a point where it's just ridiculous.

    1. I love Priest, but I can't imagine that they were any good... Still, I'm going to try to see them on one of the dates coming up. BLS seems like an odd opener.

    2. Any good these days, I should say.