by Kenny Ramos
Photo courtesy of Mac Sabbath's Facebook page
Hailing from McDonaldland, the world’s greatest drive-thru metal band—that is, Mac Sabbath—played in Cambridge this past Tuesday night, March 22. The four members, Ronald Osbourne, Slayer MacCheeze, Grimalice and Catburgler put on a heart attack inducing set downstairs to a packed house. Their highly anticipated performance blew minds, and I was lucky enough to see it all.
First, they’re not exactly a cover band. Oh no, this tribute band came up with the ingenious idea of hilariously rewriting and renaming Black Sabbath’s lyrics and song titles. Even better is the fact that they’re inspired by the global conglomerate that embodies consumerism, mass production and gluttony itself—McDonalds. I had heard of this comedic group before, and with the help of Youtube, (praise the worldwide web) was able to see what they were all about.
Without trying to spoil too much of the performance for myself, I was careful not to spend hours watching live sets. I did get a taste of their comedic genius after reading hilarious song titles, such as “Frying Pan,” “Sweet Beef,” and “N.I.B.B.L.E.” By that point, I had an appetite for the Mac.
After slapping on a wristband at the door, I headed downstairs in the Middle East. I got there early, but it didn’t take long for the room to fill up considering that the show was sold out. I wanted to gauge what brought people to the show. Was it just for comedic relief and music? Or, did they possess deeper beliefs about McDonald’s global operations, and were there to join in the mockery against corporatism?
Mike Kuchlewski, a local from Malden, said he looked forward to hearing “Frying Pan,” a reworking of “Iron Man” and “Zipping Up the Uniform,” originally written by Black Sabbath as “Symptom of the Universe.”
“McDonalds may have come first in my life, but I’m Black Sabbath all the way,” he said when I asked him which of the two can he remember first in his life.
He was as excited as I was for the show, and even wore a hamburger necktie to the event; however, he was there strictly for the music, and had no thoughts regarding McDonalds as a purveyor of questionable food.
After that, I spoke with Charlie and Bonnie (CFA ’10), a couple who was sitting at a table with a good view of the stage. I asked them the same question, which came first, or which do they prefer?
“I’m going to go with McDonalds for both answers,” Bonnie said. Charlie, however, had a little more to say about consumerism and the use of GMOs in food.
“When it comes to consumerism, it depends on your appetite,” he said. “Big corporations have the funds for mass marketing, and in the end people will see it. It’s all based on perception.”
His neutral stance on consumerism continued onto the topic of GMOs as well.
“Humans have always adapted, and as long as there aren’t serious side effects that come with genetically modified food, there isn’t much to worry about,” he said. “Still, I’ll only eat McDonalds if I have to though.”
Overall, it appeared that everyone at the show was there because they wanted to hear a re-imagination of their favorite band. Sure, everyone knows eating McDonalds is garbage for your body, but it was Black Sabbath that won in drawing out a crowd.
Before show time, I was able to speak with a guitar and drum tech for Mac Sabbath. Matt preferred to leave out his last name when answering questions because the act is known for maintaining its privacy, which extends to its crew, too.
I asked him the hard pressing questions like which band member parties the hardest.
“It’s a tie between Ronald or Catburgler,” he said. “To be honest, I’m shocked we haven’t had to bail them out of jail yet.”
At around 10:30 p.m., Mac Sabbath was setting up to go on. The crew masked the stage with a massive yellow and red circus tent-like tarp blocking the crowd’s view. It both allowed the crew to set up in private, but also drew cheers from the crowd building up their excitement.
By 10:45, after what felt like eternity, sirens and clown laughter were playing from behind the curtain as the lights dimmed. The chatter fell silent then the tarp fell at the same time as the band played the beginning of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” Only this time, however, it was “More Ribs” by Mac Sabbath.
The Mac band definitely shreds each song perfectly. Furthermore, Ronald is the perfect mix between demented McDonald’s spokesman and Ozzy himself. He brings props with him to the microphone biting into a gross burger patty he repeatedly drops onstage, dousing the crowd with water from ketchup and mustard bottles and towards the end of the night putting a toy bat between two buns mimicking Ozzy’s infamous bat decapitation antics.
In addition to this, a demonic burger slays it on guitar while a strung out and haggard looking Grimace holds it down on bass. The Catburgler completes the nightmarish lineup on his hamburger drumset.
Mac Sabbath’s tour began March 3, but Matt told me it’s been tiring. Despite this, he’s enjoying himself, and hopes to continue working for the band in the future.