GIG REVIEW: Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity & Eyehategod Live at The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
January 5th, 2018 – my first concert of the New Year, and what a frigid day it was. But in Detroit, there was some rock and roll to warm up the air as Black Label Society made a stop on their Tour O’ Doom tour, with special guest Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod.
My drive down to the gig wasn’t so great, as what usually takes an hour and a half to get there took around three hours. I got stuck behind a moving construction crew filling pot holes. Props to the idiot who decided it was a clever idea to do such a thing on a Friday night on a major highway leading into Detroit. I’ll be seeking alternate routes the next time I go to a concert in the city.
So, I was late as I heard Eyehategod jamming as I walked quickly from the back of the venue towards the front. I missed my opportunity to shoot from the photo pit during the first three songs of Eyehategod. But after seeing a fellow photographers post of lead singer Mike Williams blowing snot out of his nose towards the photographers and fans up front, I was okay with not being in the pit for that. It would’ve been cool to shoot Jimmy Bower again as he played guitar. Nonetheless, Eyehategod set the mood for the night with their classic NOLA sludge metal.
Corrosion of Conformity hit the stage with the stoner sludge metal sound they are known for. C.O.C. was in a groove tonight as they jammed through a ten-song set that included “Vote With A Bullet”, “Albatross” and an extended version of “Clean My Wounds”. Touring in support of their upcoming album ‘No Cross No Crown’, these guys are feeling the rejuvenation with Pepper Keenan on vocals and rhythm guitar, Mike Dean playing that funky bass, Woody Weatherman making that lead guitar howl and the ever-smiling Reed Mullin on drums. The crowd was vibing right along with C.O.C. and roared with cheers and applause when they wrapped up their set. A groovin’ time was had by the band and fans alike. It was cool to see Pepper so nonchalantly walking around the lobby and meeting fans at the merch booth. He made a lot of people happy as they got to chat and take a photo with a down-to-earth dude.
Before Black Label Society took the stage, I was informed we would only get to shoot from the photo pit for one song and should we be seen shooting anywhere else in the venue after that first song, that our memory cards would be confiscated. I don’t know what happened to cause such a strict enforcement on shooting the show, especially when a few days before, a friend of mine had the first three songs to shoot BLS. He warned me there was lots of red lighting early on, and that’s exactly what we got – a heavy dose of red lighting, which doesn’t make for the best photography, but I had to make the best of the situation. It helped that there was only three of us in the photo pit to shoot BLS as opposed to 8 or 9 photographers for C.O.C., the freedom to move about came in handy when only having one song to shoot.
Lead singer and lead guitarist Zakk Wylde came out ready to rock, whipping his long blonde hair around in a frenzy as he wailed away on the axe. John DeServio packed a lot of bass and enthusiastic energy, Dario Lorina on rhythm guitar upheld his end with timely riffs and spirited play. Jeff Fabb was a constant spark of rhythm as he led the way on drums.
With a new album, ‘Grimmest Hits’, releasing on January 19th, I was disappointed that only two songs from the album made the set list for this show – “All That Once Shined” and “Room Of Nightmares”. That last song became an extended version as Zakk spoke to the crowd quite a bit. I was hoping after reviewing the album that’d I’d hear my favorite song off the new album, “The Only Words”, get played, but unfortunately it wasn’t. But there was plenty of goodness performed throughout the night, as there was a Dimebag Darrell tribute during “Bridge To Cross” and “In The River” while Zakk played piano. BLS classics “Fire It Up” and “Stillborn” rounded out the end of the nearly two-hour set, with the highlight being when Zakk went out into the crowd with his guitar and jammed away with fans circled around him. Followed by some behind-the-back strumming and and playing the guitar with his mouth, as he got back on stage.
In short, Black Label Society and Corrosion of Conformity put on a great show that any fan of sludge and groove metal would enjoy. Be sure to catch these bands when they jam near you!
Check out our photo gallery here!