Tasting Metal

Marisa Demarco
2 min read
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Ozzfest was everything it should be, with power chords aflyin’, mosh pits aplenty and thick-necked bearded men calling us Albufuckin’querque between songs. I haven’t kept up with metal. Band names like Hatebreed, Dragonforce and The Black Label Society meant very little to me before spending the day with them—the entire day—on the blistering asphalt of the Journal Pavilion. Hey, Pavilion, food for thought: TREES. TARPS. WATER.

I told my kid brother I would take him to Dehydrationfest 2006. He’s 14. It was his first concert. He wanted to be there at 9:30 a.m. It was all I could do to talk him down to noon. Get this: A styrofoam cup of water goes for about $2.50. That’s some kind of racket in the desert. I can only imagine the heat for the kids decked in vinyl and leather and chains.

But Ozzy killed in that great-granddad-of-rock way of his, sweet, smiling, enthusiastic. Albufuckin’querque loves Ozzy. He took the second stage in the late afternoon, and a tidal wave of black T-shirted fans crashed through the vending area to be part of his audience. I hated,
hated , Hatebreed at the start of their set. Feeling old, I thought “all this stuff sounds exactly the same.” Thirty minutes in, watching the strangely graceful cannonballs hurdle and orbit around the mosh pit, I changed my mind and decided Hatebreed is one of the best at what it does.

System of a Down was … System of a Down—fun, goofy, a little awkward. But those same audience members who lapped up the hypnotizing sameness of Hatebreed followed System through its bonkers set with the same enthusiasm, familiar with all the bizarro changes and tempo fluctuations that make that band the polka/muppet singalong that it is.

That was Ozzfest. I got a sunburn and a renewed love for metal. My brother got a split lip from the mosh pit I told him not to go into. He’s stoked.
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