Being a parody band can be a tricky thing. You have your gimmick and the music. The parody might be in just the image or it might be in the music or it could be a combination of both. Unless you are as clever and as good as someone like Weird Al Yankovic you probably are not going to go far. Mac Sabbath manages to get the image and the sound right. An Ozzy-era Black Sabbath tribute band with McDonald’s themed lyrics, Mac Sabbath has it all to be a successful parody band. They came to Phoenix for the first time on a Friday, July 10. With a couple of friends and my girlfriend in tow, we set off to see this hilarious and fun band.
The opening band goes by the name Father’s Day and plays up the gimmick as middle class fathers stuck in dead end jobs and play music (terribly) together. They play hardcore punk with charming songs like “My Sons a Gay”, “My Daughters a Slut”, and “You're Lucky to be Eating at the Sizzler”. Each song lasts somewhere between thirty seconds and a minute which is perfectly fine for this style of music as any longer and the band would definitely overstay their welcome. In between songs, singer Douglas Patton aka Business Dad would dig into the cooler for a frosty cold one and later on opens up a twelve pack of Dad’s Root Beer and proceeds to throw cans of warm soda into the audience. One can even struck a light. The concept worked visually; each of the musicians dressed up in their “dad personas” but the music fell flat and didn't leave any remarkable impression. I hoped that Mac Sabbath wouldn’t succumb to a similar fate.
A giant banner covered the stage as the crew set everything up while “Send in the Clowns” played. They opened up with a rendition of “War Pigs” while frontman Ronnie Osbourne struggles to free himself from a straight jacket. Slayer McCheeze with his giant hamburger head adorned with Motorhead’s mascot, Snaggletooth’s horns, manned the guitar. Catburgler, a cross between the Hamburgler and Peter Criss with his makeup, slammed on the skins. And Grimalice, with a bit of a tribute to Slash with the hat, slapped the bass in a giant costume, rounded out the rest of the lineup.
Ronnie Osbourne had a faux-grill in front of him that had plastic burgers and hot dogs and it would emit smoke in classic rock n roll fashion. They played through songs like “Pair-a-buns”, which was “Paranoid” and “Chicken for the Slaves”, a parody of “Children of the Grave”. Other songs that they played but I couldn't remember the parody titles were “Sweet Leaf”. While I couldn’t understand the majority of what Ronnie Osbourne was singing, as opposed to Ozzy who you cannot understand while talking, the songs themselves were basically note-perfect renditions.
Later in the set Ronnie would consume water from ketchup and mustard bottles and would spray the contents into the audience. A pair of inflatable hamburgers made their rounds around the crowd, which everyone cheerfully bopped and batted at. The crowd was a mix of hipsters and metalheads who would know all of Sabbath’s back catalog. Even for the less grizzled Sabbath fan (such as my friend and girlfriend) there was enjoyment to be had for all. Plus they had some really rad t-shirt designs that I could not pass up. For a parody band that covers Black Sabbath with McDonald’s lyrics, I’m lovin’ it.