Beer, Brisket & Babes

By Eddy Metal

Originally I thought having Disturbed and System Of A Down was kind of a weak main lineup, considering the past lineups at Ozzfest, but the crowd ended up eating it up. Black Frank and I and two women friends of mine arrived early to enjoy the festivities. We checked out quite a few younger up-and-coming bands on the second stage, like Walls Of Jericho (who sucked); Full Blown Chaos, who was pretty darn good; Atreyu, who kick butt bigtime and Black Label Society, another band I dig, except for some of Zakk Wylde's vocals. I wish he'd stick to guitar.

Throughout the day, having a limited VIP pass, I got to hang with Disturbed, Lacuna Coil, Jamie Jasta of Hatebreed and the host of Headbangers Ball on MTV. Pretty cool dude, actually. I though maybe he wouldn't be. Unfortunately. I missed Strapping Young Lad and Dragonforce, as I was partying backstage and checking out painted, topless girls walking by. Grrrrrrr. I know, I'm lame!

But the main event for me was the main stage: I got there in time to see Lacuna Coil's thirty-five minute set and let me tell you, these Italians blew the crowd away. I've seen them four times now and they sounded better than ever, even trying to beat the vocal excellence of the CD, which is rare. They gave 100% and it has paid off for them, now playing in front of so many in America.

California's Avenged Sevenfold wants desperately to be Iron Maiden. They come close, especially their guitar work, but the vocals left me unfulfilled, as I just couldn't seem to get into dawg's vocals.

Then Hatebreed really stomped some serious butt as they destroyed, playing riffs that just kept getting better and better. Some of it sounded almost Slayer-ish! Which is cool.

Sorry, but I don't know much about Hatebreed songwise, but I will tell you this, they were killer, live! And I'm glad I got to see them on the main stage finally. Hardcore fans were moshing like there was no tomorrow.

Jamie Jasta is quite the smooth talker, enticing the young 'uns to get crazy. Ha ha. Which they obliged.

Chicago's Disturbed then came on and rocked the place. Playing every hit they've had, it seems: "Liberate," "Remember," "Stupefy," "Return To Me," "Alive" and even a Phil Collins' song "Land Of Confusion." The crowd absolutely loved Disturbed and I must say they sounded excellent.

The amphitheatre was filled 85% for this show and, boy, were these fans ready for some rock/metal! Seeing thousands of fist's raised in the air was pretty sweet for an old metalhead like myself.

Disturbed vocalist David Draiman put forth extra effort to achieving the same effect as the CDs. Awesome set! And guitarist Dan Donigan is the heavy riffmeister of Disturbed, coming up with some memorable rhythms over and over.

Then came the weirdos supreme, L.A.'s System Of A Down, who tore through a long set of classic weird songs, including "BYOB," "Deer Dance," "Psycho," "Suicide," "Violet Pornography," "Hypnotized," a cover of Dire Straights "Sultans Of Swing," then they wrapped up this long day with three goodies in a row, "Aerials," "Toxicity" and "Sugar."

The band has gotten improved in the eight years ago since I first saw them in Chicago. Guitarist Daron Malakian's solo was pretty wild and effects-driven. Serj Tankian's vocals were as good and weird as ever. Dude can sing well, though.

Ozzy did not play, which sucked, but I guess it's rough to do that kind of schedule at his age and health status. I thought maybe his band would play and have another vocalist or two fill in, but no such luck!

By this late time of the evening, I was pretty well trashed, thanks to the relentless 102-degree heat under a cloudless sky. I was lucky to make it home before I spewed the remnants of beer, ice cream, beef brisket and more beer into the metal toilet. I brushed my teeth and collapsed on my bed.

Ah....Ozzfest, what a good time.

Special thanks go out to my bro Black Frank and the crew from 93.1 the Fox for treating us here at LMN pretty darn well. We appreciate it.