Photos and Review by Jacob Previte
Friday July 27 marked the inaugural show at the S.I. Hall at the New York State Fairgrounds. The newly developed concert venue kicked things off with heavy hitters Black Label Society with Corrosion of Conformity and EYEHATEGOD.
American sludge metal rockers EYEHATEGOD started off the evening with their blend of booming, at times bluesy, raw and energetic metal mix. The tortured screams from lead singer Mike Williams combined with wall to wall vibrations of feedback set the tone for the rest of the night.
North Carolina’s heavy metal legends, Corrosion of Conformity, was up next. The curtain came up revealing the band’s name banner and the crowded bar area emptied quickly as everyone got excited for the band to take the stage. Corrosion of Conformity is sheer energy from the first note to the last, they are relentless. The band has a catalog that spans almost twenty-five years. They did an awesome job of playing a wide array of songs to appeal to all the fans. They played a few tracks off their new album No Cross No Crown and they also went back a few years and played fan favorites from their 1994 release Deliverance. The crowd was thrilled with their performance and totally pumped for headliners Black Label Society.
If you are a fan of rock or metal music, then Black Label Society should need no introduction. But just in case someone hasn’t heard of them, the band was formed in 1998 by guitarist and vocalist Zakk Wylde. Wylde had experienced success with his solo acoustic album Book of Shadows released in 1996. Instead of recording another solo album, Wylde decided to form a long-term band and thus Black Label Society was formed. The band has experienced many lineup changes and has had some incredible talent over the years including: Phil Ondich (drums), Steve Gibb (bass), Mike Inez (bass), Johnny Kelly (drums), and Robert Trujillo (bass) to name a few. Wylde is also well-known for touring with Ozzy Osbourne.
The magnitude of Zakk Wylde’s guitar playing skills is overwhelming. He paused to dedicate part of their set to his late friends Dimebag Darrel (Pantera) who passed away in 2004 and Vinnie Paul (Pantera) who passed away June of this year. Wylde did a fantastic job of making sure everyone was having a good time. He jumped off the stage and ran through the entire crowd, front to back and left to right, while playing an extended guitar solo during hit song “Fire It Up.” Did I mention his guitar was behind his head the entire time? Amazing!
The energy from the fans was powerful. Zakk Wylde and his bandmates wanted to repay the love. They ended the night with a heavy version of chart topper “Stillborn” before bidding the crowd adieu.