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Volume 71, Issue 6, Monday, August 29, 2005

Life & Arts

Ozzfest's past gives way to future

By Scott Whit
The Daily Cougar

Saturday's Ozzfest show at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion was the swan song for Ozzy Osbourne, as he will no longer headline the tour that bears his name. One could argue that this decision should have been made years ago. But knowing that this was the final go around for him and his fellow members in Black Sabbath, the audience was able to forgive his use of teleprompters and his incessant "I love you all." 

It was like seeing a great ballplayer play his last game when his last game should have been seasons ago. You just smile and think about all he has done. 

Stephen Pinchback/The Daily Cougar

As I Lay Dying proved to their audience that just because Ozzy is calling it quits doesn't mean Ozzfest has to end. The group's energetic performance combined with their latest release Shadows are Security is a strong sign that they will be featured in fests to come.

Preceding Sabbath on the main stage was Velvet Revolver. They were able to fit in with the Ozzfest crowd with their pedigree of Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. 

Mudvayne, one of the many Ozzfest alumni on the bill, showed why they have been asked back. They took their great musicianship to another level live. Shadows Fall showed why they are the next big thing in metal. Singer Brian Fair and the band's twin guitars harken back to Metallica, but add something totally new and refreshing. They were able to do the unthinkable -- make fans forget about the unbearable heat. 

Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society came out looking like Hells Angels, and after their 40 minutes, fans looked like they had been musically run over. 

In Flames was also on the main stage. The drawback to being on the main stage was the seats that prevented moshing and took away from the vibe.

The real lifeblood of Ozzfest is the second stage. Here you see bands trying to take their careers to the next level. Rob Zombie headlined the stage with a great performance that included no props except a few beach balls and an umbrella that Rob used for shade.

Killswitch Engage had the bad luck of playing while the sun was directly over the audience. The band was able to get sing-a-longs going, which has to be considered quite an accomplishment considering the climate conditions. 

As I Lay Dying preceded Killswitch and showed why there are such high expectations for this band. During an interview before the show, vocalist Tim Lambesis mentioned the bands post-Ozzfest arena tour with Slipknot and a headlining club tour with Norma Jean and Madball. 

Exposing their music to two different audiences will allow As I Lay Dying to grow. They could bring something worthwhile to the table, which many new bands are not doing. After seeing their live performance and listening to their latest album, Shadows are Security, it is easy to see why they will. They played an entire 30 minutes without letting up or showing signs of fatigue.

Mastodon played only 20 minutes and sounded better than when they played the Engine Room earlier this year. The band received one of the strongest reactions from the crowd.

Arch Enemy displayed their dueling guitars and Angela's throat-ripping vocals. She showed what a metal frontwoman should be. 

Wicked Wisdom sounded like a bad entry at a local battle of the bands. Jada Pinkett-Smith cannot sing -- even though her vocals were turned way up, it couldn't mask the fact that she was horrible.

Soilwork earned the praise they are receiving as a band on the rise. Gizmachi was best when they played their more offbeat material. 

Bury Your Dead seemed to play the same riff on every song. They should spend time practicing how to lay off the blastbeats. 

The Haunted went on around 9:45 a.m., and it is impossible to see how someone could be so angry that early. They tore up their set and singer Peter Dolving had the line of the day: "If you are going to smack someone, do it with a smile." Who could argue with a man that was later seen walking around in boots, tighty-whiteys and a grin? 

The $3.50 water -- not including ice -- could not damper the fun and exhausting day at the Woodlands. The best way to describe all the bands at Ozzfest is to paraphrase wrestler Bret "the hit man" Hart -- you saw the best there was, the best there is and the best there ever will be.


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Verdict: A buffet of quality metal.

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