Words Callum Doig.
Photos Louis Foo.
Zakk Wylde has been largely well-known as Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man on the strings for most of his career. That alone though, isn’t the only thing that’s given him big recognition internationally as a musician, as he’s also renowned for his own band, Black Label Society. Wylde and his thrashy troubadours have come back for a run across the country for their first headline tour in ten years with different local supports joining them in each city.
Beer-guzzling monsters Mammoth Mammoth were given their shot as the opener for the first show in Melbourne. After a number of gigs in Europe, their last chance to wow audiences in their home city before the year ends was a phenomenal one. People witnessing Mammoth Mammoth for the first time may be left puzzled as to what to do when they see frontman Mikey Tucker throw himself into the pit and get up in their faces. Nonetheless, they left patrons impressed with plenty of tracks including ‘Hell’s Likely’, ‘Sick (Of Being Sick)’, ‘Sittin’ Pretty’, as well as their own renditions of ‘Green Machine’ by Kyuss and ‘Kick Out the Jams’ by MC5.
The minute the lights went out, all that could be heard besides the screaming of enthusiastic fans, was the crowd singing along to the Black Sabbath classic ‘War Pigs’, which was being played aloud in the background. Then the one and only Black Label Society kicked open the set with ‘The Beginning… At Last’, with the whole crowd going absolutely apeshit in the moshpit. Wylde and his men also added many fan favourites such as ‘Funeral Bells’, ‘Bleed for Me’, ‘Suicide Messiah’ and ‘My Dying Time’, where he’d later leave many jaws dropped on the ground with a staggering and expeditious solo. His way of executing every note, scale and rhythmic pattern on his six strings was reminiscent to that of a complete symphonic orchestra. Later on, the quartet would move onto some softer material with ‘Angel of Mercy’ and the famous Dimebag tribute ‘In This River’, before ending the set with ‘The Blessed Hellride’, ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Stillborn’.
Both Black Label Society and Mammoth Mammoth were in their prime, and not a dull moment (which included getting punched in the ribs and whacked over the head by random crowdsurfers) in each of their timeslots. Zakk Wylde still proves to this day that he’s going all out on the touring and the skills he flaunts on his ridiculous collection of guitars.