Black Label Society's Unblackened- Brasslands

Black Label Society

Eagle Vision

Many may still think of Zakk Wylde as an Ozzy Osbourne hired gun but the guitarist has a couple of decades under his belt now with his own band, Black Label Society. The show opens with the southern grunge of "Losin' Your Mind," a song that Zakk cut with his first "solo" band Pride and Glory, then BLS rocks straight into the title cut from Blessed Hellride. Wylde switches guitars often throughout the show and uses a double-neck model for "Sold My Soul" before switching to piano for a couple of soulful ballads, "Road Back Home" and "Spoke in the Wheel." There's an acoustic set too that includes "Takilya (Estyabon)," "Won't Find it Here" and a showcase of Flamenco-style fret work on "Speedball." A couple of poignant moments are when Wylde plays "I Thank You Child" where vintage home footage of him singing to his daughter when she was a toddler rolls in the background, and during "In This River," a song that Wylde plays in memory of his good friend, the late Dimebag Darrel. The show ends with oldie "Stillborn."

Evergreene Music

Brasslands is a very interesting documentary film that fans of Balkan brass music will love. The film traces the journey of American group Zlatne Uste as they prepare to go to Serbia to compete in the annual trumpet festival in the small village of Guca. The festival is an amazingly big deal in Serbia and more than half a million fans come to party and root for their favorite players. There are plenty of shots of the party action, on stage performances and candid interviews but the film has several threads you might not expect; some Serbs retain a resentment towards Americans as it was not that long ago that NATO, led by the U.S., bombed the country. Another sub-theme is how many Serbians do not like the Gypsy minority and yet many so-called "black music" bands participate in the festival. The members of Zlatne Uste fret over these things before and during their stay but overall they are well received and have a great time even though they do not win a prize; this 50th anniversary of the festival also marks the first time non-Serbian bands were allowed to compete. The film's soundtrack, sold separately, includes one track from Zlatne Uste and cuts from others like Slavic Soul Party, Veveritse Brass Band, Dejan Petrovic Orchestra and Brasslands Big Band.

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