You couldn’t ask for better supporting tour mates with Nita Strauss and Jared James Nichols. And with the night just starting to unfold, up comes Jared James Nichols.
Going into this show, and in all honesty, I never heard Jared and his band before. That was a mistake. I felt with the rawness and power that they delivered that night, they were going to be a tough act to follow. Even with BLS as a headliner.
Being a musician myself, he threw me for a loop with pick-less guitar playing. Jared performs as part of a blues rock power trio, with power being the operative word to describe their set. They did not disappoint. Jared is a physically imposing specimen, and bumping into him on the side stage, he was totally the opposite. Very mild and humble, which makes you like the band even more. Playing “Hard Wired”, “Skin and Bones” and Alice in Chains “Man in the Box”, they opened up the night with a boom.
Nita Strauss was up next. I have followed her since she played with The Iron Maidens. She is, hands down, one of the greatest female musicians out there. And seeing her live show, just proved that once again.
She effortlessly played, “Mariana Trench”, “Summer Storm” and “Pandemonium”. Even without David Draiman on stage, “Dead Inside” was great to hear live. It’s amazing to see the technicality of her music translating so well live. This is when a true musician shines.
Waiting between sets, a monstrous Black Label Society curtain is pulled up, covering the stage almost entirely.
Then, the theater darkens, with the exception of a few small lights behind the curtain. “Whole Lotta Sabbath” starts to rumble through the speakers, as the Doom Crew hits the stage. The curtain falls…
Zakk and crew jump right into “Bleed for Me”. It was absolutely thunderous! The band kept up the frantic pace to the end like a freight train to hell. The tribute to Lemmy Kilmister and Dime Bag Darryl with the song “In This River” slowed down the ride a bit. Torturous riffs that only Zakk delivers, makes you wonder how his strings, and guitars, stay together thought the night. Dueling solos and sharing melodic guitar parts with Dario Lorina, while bassist “J.D.” DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb kept thundering in the background.
Closing out the night was “Stillborn”, with Zakk pounding his chest at the end of the song. Fists in the air and Theme From New York, NY (Frank Sinatra song), played while the lights dimmed and the crew walked off the stage.
Photos by Tricia Starr