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Concerts are supposed to be fun.  There is nothing better than grabbing your friends and heading out together to your favorite band’s concert.  The atmosphere.  The anticipation.  As the evening progresses, the band plays perfectly, and everyone goes home happy.  Last Friday night at the Observatory, I was embarking on the exact opposite excursion.  I was set to check out three bands I did not know much about and consequently did not know what to expect.  Can one still have fun?  Well, I’m here to tell you that on Friday night at in Orange County it was indeed possible.

As I entered the theater and took my position, I noticed on stage the setup for the band Tartar Control, a hardcore Mormon three-piece (or two, depending on how you look at it).  Robert Selander (vocals) and Sean Hart (guitar, backing vocals) were milling about on stage just before showtime and getting Robot (bass, drums) ready to begin the show.  They were extremely personable and polite, talking to some folks in the front row.  That was all about to change as within minutes they were unleashing some of the most hilarious and devastating punk rock I’ve heard in a long time.  The crowd was eating it up. Within minutes pits were created, crowd surfers abound, and Tartar Control was IN control and we were off and running.  Clever dialog and comedic banter delivered with diabolic music by clean-cut Mormons and a robot is a lot to digest right out of the chute, but we managed.  And everyone smiled.  Their set was over in what seemed like 5 minutes with the crowd wanting more.  What fun!

Next on the bill was 45 Grave,  a horror rock band fronted by the legendary punk Goddess Dinah Cancer.  They put through a good 40 minutes set of some of the most intense and well-played rock you will ever see.  Dinah Cancer’s 45 Grave are considered pioneers in the L.A. deathrock and horror punk scene.  They spent their set hypnotically captivating the audience as Diane simply owned the observatory on this night.  As they finished up, their decades in the music scene showed through and illustrated to me how professional and well done this set was.  I would not mind experiencing this engaging group again.  Spooky captivating fun!

Finally, it was time for the reason why we all gathered on this chilly November evening, Mac Sabbath.  I was extremely eager to watch this anticipated spectacle, as they have been gaining much traction in recent years.  Being a massive Black Sabbath fan over the years (they were my sidekick during high school I must admit), I was eager to hear this band and what they can do.  The lights finally dimmed, and the band broke into “Organic Funeral” (“Electric Funeral”) to begin their set.  The band members Catburgler (drums), Slayer MacCheeze (guitars), Grimalice (bass), and of course Ronald Osbourne (vocals) came to play.  Fans were treated to a myriad of hits including “Sweet Beef” (Sweet Leaf), “GMO blind” (Snowblind), “Into The Void”, “Love Buns” (KISS’s Love Gun), and even “Grill My Pet”, (Motorhead’s “Killed By Death).  The show wrapped up with a couple of Mac classics, “Frying Pan” (“Iron Man”) and “Pair-a-Buns” (“Paranoid”).  Hilarious!

This show had it all: The lights, the burger-flipping, the moshing, the stage-diving, and of course, the attention to detail Mac Sabbath puts into its shows.  Let’s not forget the quality of the playing - it was brilliant and all came together on Friday night.  The creativity this band demonstrated was off the charts and frankly can’t believe I hadn’t crossed paths with them before.  I’m so glad I did and will surely seek out their unique show again!  Their brand of insanity and chaos was a ton of fun! 


John McAteer

Photojournalist - Orange County

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