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Written by  Brandon McCarthy

Cover and tribute bands can be fun to watch depending on how they present themselves. There is one band that find tantalizing to say the least. I am talking about Mac Sabbath, the Black Sabbath parody band from Birminghamburger, England. Dubbed the pioneers of “Drive Thru Metal,” Mac Sabbath have dressed as demonic versions of Ronald McDonald characters warning people about the evils of fast food. I first saw them back in 2019 and was blown away by their stage presence as well as creative lyrics to Black Sabbath tunes. When it was announced that they would be coming back to the Observatory, Rabit and I came with hungry appetites. As appetizers, the OC metalheads were treated to punk rockers Toys That Kill and death rock icons 45 Grave. So, out of the bag and into the frying pan we go.

Toys That Kill were the opening the night and they gave the fans so good old punk rock excitement. Hailing from the San Pedro area of California, Toys That Kill brought out the energy the fans needed to get through the long night ahead of them. The twin guitar work by Todd Congelliere and Sean Cole was fast paced and fun, sounding as if The Ramones’ Johnny Ramone and Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones have joined forces. I could catch the name of the songs they performed, but I was headbanging to them. The crowd were delighted with what Toys That Kill brought to the stage, and I hope to catch them again down the line.

Up next was the pioneers of death rock and gothic rock, 45 Grave. Having formed in 1979, frontwoman Dinah Cancer remains the sole original member left, but she carries the group proudly. Her voice gives off a spooky vibe as the band carries on the evening with tunes that would make the ghouls rise from their graves and headbang. What is cool about 45 Grave is that they mix death rock with elements of surf rock and punk rock, giving the sound a jovial and macabre beat. Guitarist Dylan Thomas, bassist Branden Blackwell, and drummer Tom Coyne make an effective team that collaborates well with Dinah’s singing. From “Insurance From God” to “The Plan,” “Take 9,” “Night of the Demons,” “Child of Fear,” “Phantoms,” “Surf Bat,” “Evil,” “Akira,” and “Dream Hits,” 45 Grave are still a vibrant Goth band that know how to show the audience how to have a good time.

After a brief intermission to reenergize, the McDonalds curtains are removed and out of the oven comes Mac Sabbath, serving their first song of evening, “Organic Funeral.” Frontman Ronald Osbourne, dressed in his best, rose hell as he snarled and harmoniously screamed the words. Armed with a stove and ketchup & mustard, he was on a mission. Nailing the Tony Iommi licks per usual was Slayer MacCheeze, whose riffs were just as sharp as his tusks. Every time he struck the next note, I transcended into another realm. On bass was Grimlace, whose wacky looks made that much more lethal. Finally, we come to the Catburglar, a drummer who has an impeccable appetite for the beat. Not only does he have the prowess of Bill Ward, but also the flair of KISS’ Peter Criss.  For over an hour and a half, Mac Sabbath fed the metalheads of Orange mouth-watering songs like “The Lizard,” “Sweet Beef,” “We’re Not Going to Shake Shack,” “GMO Blind,” “Love Buns,” “Chicken for the Slaves,” “Supersize,” and “Pair-a-Buns.” Of course, no meal from Mac Sabbath would not be complete without a bit of dessert, “Frying Pan.”

That was one of the most fun shows I have been to in a while. Mac Sabbath was even more delightful than the first one. It is amazing how much impact a parody rock can have on the audience. Along with their opening numbers, the Observatory was alive and kicking once again. Until the mood strikes Rabit or me, we cannot wait to go through that drive-thru once again. To Mac Sabbath, 45 Grave, and Toys That Kill, I salute you. Horns up!!!

Photos by Matt "Rabit" Martinez

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