Sunday night in the heart of the bible belt, about 400 family and friends were observing the Sabbath in one of Nashville’s most iconic places of worship, the Exit/In. Preaching the evils of the fast food industry, “drive thru metal” pioneers Mac Sabbath brought one of the most entertaining tour lineups to the stage that I’ve experienced in my 40+ years on this planet for the American Cheese Tour. Joined by Homer Simpson’s favorite Christian neighbor Ned Flanders, well the five Ned Flanders of Okilly Dokilly to be exact, and fun-loving punk outfit Playboy Manbaby, the mix of raucous comedy and iconic Black Sabbath riffs kept the heads banging and the pit swirling the entire night.
Phoenix, AZ based Playboy Manbaby brought their quirky brand of high energy punk rock to the stage first, with lead singer Robbie Pfeffer joking, “We’re gonna play a new song, but 99% of you have never heard of us so they’re all new songs!” From the get-go the quartet (usually a sextet but the horn section didn’t appear on this tour) was incredibly fun to watch and instantly put a toe-tapping groove into the growing crowd. Audience engagement and participation was abundant throughout their 30-minute set, with jokes about the Nashville hot chicken and the statistical likelihood of “standing where Johnny Cash pooped” being interjected in between choruses and verses of their song “Thoughts & Prayers.” Pfeffer’s command of the crowd was highlighted when he stepped down into the crowd and had the audience repeating the chorus of “Cadillac Car,” ”I wanna Cadillac Car (a Cadillac Car), a new hairdo (a new hairdo), I wanna go to work and tell my boss, fuck you!” Playboy Manbaby wrapped up their spirited set with “You Can Be a Fascist Too” and “Falafel Pantyhose.” If you’re into seriously entertaining music by musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously, do yourself a favor and check out Playboy Manbaby on Facebook and have a listen to their discography on Bandcamp.
Established in 2015, Phoenix, AZ based “Nedal” band Okilly Dokilly found success before even playing their first show, reaching viral phenomenon status after releasing just a few press photos and a four-song demo. Within two weeks, the band netted nearly 30,000 Facebook fans and was featured by numerous publications including Billboard, Time, The Independent, BBC, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice and many more. The band was in instant success with both metal heads and fans of The Simpsons. In 2016, the band released their debut album, ‘Howdilly Doodilly’ – a 13-track LP filled with Flanderisms, rushing guitars and more than enough left-handed puns. The band dress like and rock a mustache just like Ned Flanders. They have turned the Jesus loving obnoxious neighbor’s phrases into straight up death metal songs with gut wrenching screams and shredding riffs. Okilly Dokilly released their second full-length album, entitled ‘Howdilly Twodilly’, on March 29, 2019. Just over a week later, Okilly Dokilly reached pinnacle Ned status when their “White Wine Spritzer” video, which has over 5.8 million views on YouTube and counting, was featured on The Simpsons. Before launching into the lead track off their latest release, Head Ned addressed the crowd, “Howdilly, doodilly. Neighborinos, are you ready for a little Reneducation?” And reneducated we were as Okilly Dokilly thrashed through an 11 song setlist filled with Ned Flanders quotes and Flanderized banter with the audience. Head Ned covered the range from guttural growls to shrill screams on songs like “You’re a Jerk,” “I Can’t, It’s a Geo,” “Godspeed Little Doodle” and “Donut Hell” while the four other Neds shredded the 80s synth and heavy guitar riffs before arriving at the song that’s a real kick in the kididdlehopper, “White Wine Spritzer.” Visually and musically, Okilly Dokilly put on one hi diddly heckuva good show. If they come through your town in the Ned Vanders (the name of their van), you owe it to yourself to go check them out. Like Ned says, “You only live once. Ah hell, give me a white wine spritzer!”
Birmingham-burger based “drive thru metal” innovators Mac Sabbath mix comedic pun-filled lyrics and borderline-horrific theatrics, complete with a smoking grill, laser-eyed clowns, a 10 feet straw used as a giant beer bong and many more magical surprises, with almost note for note renditions of classic Ozzy era Black Sabbath songs. Song titles and frontman Ronald Osbourne’s lyrics serving as a means to condemn and lampoon the McFastFood industry. Dressed as the evil versions of the old McDonaldland characters, Ronald Osbourne on vocals, a terrifying Mayor McCheese aka Slayer MacCheeze on guitar, Grimus aka Grimalice on bass, and Hamburglar aka Catburglar, with Peter Criss cat makeup, on drums, the band takes those iconic Black Sabbath songs and comically re-hashes them into a skewering ode to all things fast food, GMOs and consumerism. For instance Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” becomes “Sweet Beef,” “Electric Funeral” becomes “Organic Funeral,” and “Iron Man” becomes “Frying Pan.” And much like the madman from whom he draws inspiration, Ronald Osbourne roams the stage maniacally with a bucket or ketchup and mustard bottles in hand looking for that unsuspecting person in the crowd to douse with, well you’ll just have to get up front to find out! Mac Sabbath’s show, while heavy on the classic Tony Iommi riffs and equally as heavy on the fast food puns (Spinal Tapplebees, Iggy Popeye’s anyone, is this thing on?), was as much visual as it was musical. A cast of characters appearing throughout the set, including a harmonica playing lizard cameo for the song “The Lizard (aka The Wizard),” a brightly colored Fry Kid and stage hands dressed in those old school soda jerk outfits. Even the Catburglar’s drum kit fit with the fast food motif, all of the drums resembling fish filets and burgers complete with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on sesame seed buns. Playing for well over an hour and covering not only Black Sabbath, they also threw in some quick Kiss snippets with “Bread (Beth)” and “Love Buns”, and even closed out the show with a little Turbonegro homage to their tour mates Okilly Dokilly with “All My Friends are Ned.” All told, fans who came out to the Exit/In on Sunday night were lovin’ it. From the carnivores to the vegans, the floor was packed until the very last bite, er, note. Mac Sabbath is a must experience show, so make sure you’re plugged into their social media accounts to find out when they’ll be delivering the “Sweet Beef” to a venue near you.