May 2013 Archives

I'm a fairly old school kinda guy. I prefer books and newspapers over Android tablets. Vinyl over iTunes. Heck, some of my favourite bands rose then fell before I was even born. For that reason, I've always wanted to travel back in time. Not to change events of a time gone by. I just want to see some awesome bands rocking out in their prime. How awesome would it have been to see Nirvana when Seattle was the centre of the music universe? Seeing Motley Crue at a sold out Whiskey A Go-Go? The Clash? Led Zeppelin? I could go on all night.

The closest thing punters like me can get are reformed bands that should never have reformed in the first place or the ones that manage to perform a minor musical miracle and equal or even better expectations.

Luckily, Black Sabbath falls into the latter category. After much rumour and hype, Ozzy, Tony and co announced late 2011 that the old band was getting back together for a new album. Tours were announced soon after. I was hesitant, having been recently been burned by a less than impressive Motley Crue but as the saying goes, you buy the ticket you take the ride.

My initial worries melted as soon as guitarist Tony Iommi strummed the opening chords to the anti-war anthem "War Pigs". We may have become accustomed to Ozzy speaking like a man that has been battling drug and alcohol addictions for 40 years since we watched The Osbournes but the reality is that he has lost nothing in the pipes. Ozzy fucking Osbourne sounds just like I wanted him to.

The band was tight, sounding heavier and more sinister in real life than their records. Ozzy, Tony and bassist Geezer Butler have played together for years but it was surprising how well whipper snapper drummer Tommy Clufetos played catch up. He's been playing in Ozzy's solo band for years and would know most of the material but still managed to slot into the experienced Sabbath unit with ease. While Rage Against The Machine's Brad Wilk plays drum on upcoming album 13, Clufetos replaces Bill Ward who was controversially axed before the band played UK's Download Festival last year.

The setlist was mostly made up from the Black Sabbath's first two albums, (Black Sabbath and Paranoid) but they play the lesser known "Snowblind" and "Dirty Women" as well as three cuts off the new album. "Loner" and "End of the Beginning" were received to polite applause while the first single "God is Dead?" was better received by the mid-week Melbourne crowd. The new songs are classic Sabbath and could well have been accidentally left off their seminal album Paranoid.

Black Sabbath rounded off the night the only way they could: "Paranoid"! There's nothing better than an army of metal heads belting out "Can you help me, occupy my brain?" As the band took their final bow, only one questioned remained; When the fuck will you guys be back? Ozzy must have picked up on that vibe. He responded that "we'll be back real soon." Bring it on!

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