Ozzfest 2001. Milton Keynes bowl. Just 10 minutes from my home, who would have thought that the most perfect lineup would come to the most perfect place for me? But it did! This was my first Ozzfest, and even though I wasn’t a fan of most of the bands that were performing, I was determined to enjoy myself and get the most out of the day. The place isn’t too big that you can lose your way – it’s just a little bowl, but judging from my experience from Big Day Out in 1999, keep tabs on your friends or you’ll probably lose them! As soon as we got there we went to sit on the hill overlooking the stage and wait for our friends before the first band came on. The Union Underground The first band on, and as I’d only heard one song that I didn’t really like by them, I wasn’t too interested. However I’m kicking myself now because I have a copy of their album which I absolutely love…oh I’m useless! Raging Speedhorn They were the first band to appear on the main stage, and amazingly ferocious and furious. I had a good time jumping around to their set – I’m not a fan, but the crowd was just small enough that you wouldn’t get trampled on, and if you wanted to, you could push to the front! Good performance! Apartment 26 I didn’t watch this one, I was spending my time trying to cool down in the rising temperatures! But from what I remember, the singer is the son of one of Black Sabbath and is no doubt the reason that they got the gig! (Hed)pe Unfortunately, this was the point at which all my friends seemed to disappear, so we spent about half an hour just trying to find another person to accompany my and my mate Duncan. We were listening to them all the time, and I didn’t immediately like them. I have their latest album now, and it’s really good, sort of hip hop mixed to just the right degree with metal! Pure Rubb
ish All my friends were just sitting there in during this band going ‘yeah they really are pure rubbish’, and ‘sooo crap!’ all the time, but I actually thought that they were quite good. They seemed to be a kind of garagy punky rock maybe a bit like the Backyard Babies, but anyway, they were good watched from afar. Soulfly Soulfly, well especially Max Cavalera look absolutely amazing. He wears totally scruffy clothes, and has the maddest dreads, but he can get away with it! Again I hadn’t heard much of Soulfly before I saw them, but they were amazing, sort of metal mixed with tribal rhythms but not too experimental to be boring. And also Corey Taylor (Slipknot vocalist) came and joined it with a rendition of Jump da fuck up. Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society I can’t remember this, I don’t know what I was doing, but I certainly wasn’t watching them. I have heard a few songs since, and I liked what I heard, but they just didn’t catch my imagination that day. Papa Roach Ah, I know what I was doing, I was getting as good position for Papa Roach, in between the kiddies on their daddies back. The crowd was almost exclusively young – or young children accompanied by parents, and as the band started up with their angsty nu-metal I realised that I was probably the only person in the crowd who didn’t know the words! This was the first big name band to come on, and they did put in a good performance, but after half an hour or so they just got too much and my attention wandered… Mudvayne Now, I really cannot stand Mudvayne’s music. They’re like Slipknot, but worse, I should know, I have their latest album at home and I just can’t listen to it. However, they did put in a very good performance, and their funny painted faces was a welcome break after the serious Papa Roach, and I got some really good photos. My friend Jenny managed
to meet them in the autograph tent, and one of them (can’t remember who, they have stupid names hehe) signed her Hare Krishna bible! Result! Tool I love A Perfect Circle, and now due to this performance I also love Tool! They were mesmerising, from the moment Maynard James Keenan stripped to his combat boots and boxers right the way to the end. They had an amazing video which reflected the intensity of their music and just did it for me! I’m now a really big fan. Then came the bottle fight, which was really funny, I have some kewl pictures from it, just people throwing their bottles around in between sets! Amen This was the first band that I had really really wanted to see. The front man, Casey Chaos is really charismatic, and it was so exciting just seeing him walk out onto the stage. Oh and my brother somehow got a souvenir from him, I can’t remember what, a drink or something. They went through a lot of the songs that I have spent ages listening to on ‘We have come for your parents’ and others that I didn’t know. Very well worth seeing them. Slipknot Again, I don’t really like Slipknot, I find them a bit boring, but I do love ‘Wait and bleed’ (it’s so catchy!!). Like Mudvayne, It was mainly image, but it was kind of exciting watching them emerge. The highlight was defiantly seeing the drummer (or one of them, I can’t remember) crowd diving from the ‘crowd surfers will be ejected’ signs! Definatly an interesting experience. Disturbed Because I hardly new anything about them, I took this opportunity to go shopping. Surprisingly, the prices of the clothes were quite god, and I bought a t-shirt saying ‘Yes I’m weird because only I can hear the little voices’ and a turquoise net top. I did hear some of their music in the background, which then was passable, but I really like them now. Black Sabbath And now ju
st what everyone had been waiting for! I knew a few Sabbath songs but not enough to be able to sing along to! They were just as good as everyone expected – it was almost as though we were back in the 70s, watching them in their era, it was so exciting to think that one of the biggest bands in the world were only a few feet away from us! Crowd pleasers that I noted were Paranoid, and of course, Iron Man, with almost everyone singing or humming along to, creating the most amazing atmosphere! So that’s my experience on the Ozzfest. Even though I hadn’t heard most of the bands that played, a year on, and I own an album, or at least some music, of almost all of them, so it was a great thing to expose me to more music! However, bad things there were the price to the food. It’s too much effort, and weighs too much to bring your own packed lunch, so you have to buy something most of the time. But on a hot summer day, 2 quid for a bottle of water is not funny. I thought that it was quite good about the crowd surfers being banned, because much as I love surfing in smaller venues, it would create too many problems at a big festival. My advice to new festival goers this year would be – take all of your mates phone numbers, just in case you get split up, it’s easier than you think to get lost. Also, take lots of liquid, and several layers of clothes because we all know how changeable the English summer time is! Another thing – pack light – my first festival, my mum was loading all this food onto me, and I could hardly move once I had my bag on my shoulder! Well and now here we are – under a month until the next Ozzfest! This time I have prepared musically to get the most out of it – I have albums of all of the main acts, and I’m making sure that I know a few songs of the other bands. This year promises to be even better than the last, with System of a Down, Tool, Cradle of Filth, Lostpro
hets and others! It’s a pity that it’s just Ozzy rather than the Sabbath this year though.
After a long absence from the Godfathers of heavy Metal, Black Sabbath the chance to see them live was not to be missed. They would no doubt amaze, but what about the 13 other bands who'd made the trek to Milton Keynes Bowl.... Well, I suppose I'll start with the venue itself. Milton Keynes Bowl is, suprising a bowl; a large circle with two stages erected at the front and the surrounding area sloping upwards to give the feeling of a Roman ampitheatre. Around the outside were literally hundreds of portaloos (which incidently were the best I've ever seen) and a good number of food and merchandise stalls. The merchandise was typical of what you'd expect for a festival; a huge range of expensive band t-shirts and hoodies (my Ozzfest t-shirt cost me £15). There was a good range of food with everything from melons to noodles, from hot dogs to candy floss, and for a festival it was reasonably priced (£1 for a bottle of water, £3.50 for a portion of noodles). Back in the main bowl, there was a beer tent down each side, several stalls selling merchandise, alternative clothing, piercings, legal highs, etc, all very reasonably priced. In the very centre was a large "cage" where you could, for a price, dress up in a kangaroo suit and beat the hell out of your mates, and other equally insane activites. Over in the corner was a signing tent where you could meet the bands, that is, if you could be bothered to queue for about an hour. Now, onto the bands... The first up was Union Underground, sadly due to the traffic I missed most of the set, but from what I saw, they played a good set, staying faithful to their nu-metal style. Then onto the main stage (bands alternated between the stages so you wouldn't miss anything) stormed Raging Speedhorn. If you have read my opinion on "Raging Speedhorn in general" you will know exactly what I think of them. I'm not going to devote much space to them, because frankly they
really don't deserve it. Quite how they got onto a bill next to Black Sabbath is beyond my comprehension. Apartment 26, although not a brilliant band were like a breath of fresh air after the dire mess that preceeded them, consequently I enjoyed their set rather more than I would otherwise have done. They are fronted by Biff Butler, Geezer's son, but their styles are nothing alike. Apartment 26 are more a rock band than metal, and they do have a couple of top notch songs. Sadly, the rest of their set appeared to be filler, but the potential is certainly there. Hed Planet Earth were next up on the main stage. I had been particularly looking forward to their set as I had got their album a couple of months before and it's top quality stuff. Unlike the previous bands who relied on their stage presence, Hed PE have the music to back it up. Waiting To Die, Bartender and Killing Time were of course crowd favourites, and at the end of their set you were left with a strange sense of satisfaction, rather than the feeling that something was missing as with previous bands. Then came a band who I'd never heard of before; Pure Rubbish who are not what their name implies. They are a rock band with hints of punk every now and again. As with Apartment 26, they were on the bill purely because of their connections (they are signed to Divine Recordings, Ozzy's label), but they did have something to offer. Some of their songs were a bit samey, but again the potential is there. Now it was time to jump da fuck up, and go well and truely mental. It was, of course Soulfly accompanied by Corey Taylor from Slipknot and Tom Araya from Slayer. They played an absolutely insane set, with the entire crowd moshing away for the first time that day. They really are a superb band who should have been on much further up the bill. Then came a band who I can only rate as slightly better than Raging Speedhorn; Zakk Wylde's Black Label So
ciety. Why on earthe they were on after Soulfly and Hed PE I will never know. I honestly think they played the same song over and over for their whole set. They really were not my thing. Papa Roach are a very good band, but they are let down by their front man living up to his name whenever they play live. Mr Dick decided to ask the whole crowd to shoot him if anyone had a gun. Oh, how I wish I'd had a sub-machine gun. He rolled around for the whole set, presumably trying to copy Casey Chaos. Having said that, the music was excellent. Just a pity the crowd wasn't a bit more into it. Mudvayne hit the stage next, with the Slipknot faithful swarming round. Everyone else decided it was time to get food and go to the loo. The make-up gimic really doesn't work and it's not as if it hasn't been done before. They rely purely on this and the fact that they are managed by Shawn from Slipknot. Perhaps they'll grow up, but sadly not before they have made their million. My brother of 13 thinks they are great. Says it all really. Welcome back Tool! We've missed you! Tool were the only band apart from Black Sabbath who interested both older teenagers and the older members of the crowd (such as my dad who is rapidly approaching 50). They played an excellent set, with Maynard James Keenan performing his obligatory strip routine. Sadly, their show was ruined by the little kids waiting for punk wannabes Amen to take to the second stage. A bottle fight soon began. Thankfully, most were empty but bottles of paint, piss and other liquids were thrown around. They really do hurt when they hit you and did spoil the set. So onto Amen. They seem to have been the subject of a lot of hype lately, and personally I can't see what's so good about them, but there was a reasonable crowd, so I suppose it must just be me. Amen produced the roughest crowd of the lot, and within 15 minutes I was dragging my mate to the medical tent
after she'd been punched in the head. Pleasant. In my opinion, they were pants, but everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves so they can't have been that bad. Slipknot are one of those bands that I can't quite make out. I love their anthems such as Wait And Bleed, Spit It Out and Surfacing, but the rest of the album seems to me, pretty dull. The bottle fight started again, this time up on the bank where the masses of older teenagers had gathered. The Mudvayne crowd reappeared, surrounding the stage and they were rewarded with a very mediocre set. The well known songs went down reasonably well but new material such as The Heretic Anthem (then The Heretic Song) was met with much hesitation from the crowd. Better luck next year. Disturbed didn't quite live up to expections either. They certainly have the material, but with everyone desperate for Black Sabbath to start and generally feeling pretty knackered they just couldn't get the crowd going. They got everything right, but they just couldn't live up to theredirect support of Black Sabbath. A real pity. Aah. The main event! After being split up from my friends I decided to try to get as close as I could to the stage. A large bloke in front of me began to push through the crowd so I followed him to the third row. By now the atmosphere was very tense with everyone desperate for Black Sabbath to begin. There were several crushes and unfortunately I got pushed into a bloke who decided that it was fine for him to throw me to the ground. Several people picked me up and got me right to the front! The water jets were raining down on us, and Sabbath came out. I screamed myself hoarse along with everyone else! Someone threw a blow up doll onto the stage and Ozzy decided to dance with it and hump it. Very funny! Several people jumped the barrier and were carried off by security so when one lad made it up to the stage and linked arms with Ozzy the whole crowd cheered. Sadly secu
rity rugby tackled him and hauled him off the stage. Ozzy wasn't too pleased. Black Sabbath was the only set where the entire bowl were watching, and you could see why. They blasted through their classics and evn played some new material. I can't wiat for the new material! At the end fireworks went off and confetti was blasted into the air. It was truly amazing, and I felt like I was part of something far greater than myself. This is what rock is all about!
This years Ozzfest was held at the Milton Keynes Bowl and was one of the first festivals of the year, being put forward this year to the end of May. The 60,000 person venue is fantastic. This may sound a little stupid but it is shaped like a bowl which means that those lucky enough to get a place on the ampitheatre-style hill can be a long way away from the main stage yet still get an excellent view of the whole thing. The day was very well organised with 2 stages that had bands on at alternate times so that if you so wanted you could see every single band. It had all the makings of a festival...overpriced food, vastly overpriced alcohol, appauling toilets,and one very big field...but was it all worth it...? The first band of the day with a very early start at 11am, The Union Underground (2/5) were unfortunately what I can only describe as ordinary. I had heard quite a few good things about this new band, but was disappointed to see such an un-original band turn out a few average nu-metal style songs. The first band to 'grace', or rather to trash, the main stage, were Raging Speedhorn(3/5). Hardly the most subtle band ever but they did get a very good reaction from those that had turned up early and their best moment came when playing new single 'The Gush'. Not really my kind of thing but very good none the less at what they do, with the duel guitarists and the duel vocalists (or is that 'shoutists'?) making some impression on me despite a lack of variation in their set. The third band of the day, Apartment 26 (2/5) as fronted by Geezer Butler's son, Biff, knew how to get the crowd going but didnt have the songs to back this special skill up. Unfortunately, another average band. By now, about 12.30pm, the crowd was constantly growing, and then (Hed)Planet Earth(3.5/5) hit the stage. They put on an excellent show, and unlike the bands before them, had a few excellent songs to back thi
s up, with highlights including 'Killing Time', 'Waiting To Die' and 'Bartender', however there simply wasnt enough of these moments to make this band at all particularly memorable. The next band to be on the 'second stage' (aka. the Kerrang! stage) were called Pure Rubbish (3/5) and despite the name were very difficult to fault. A classic rock and roll band made up of a group of 17 year olds that ooze enthusiasm. Their own songs were good, but nothing special, althought their highlight was a cover of AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock' which was so well done that you could easily forgive them all their lesser moments. It was now just about the hottest part of the day, having just surpassed 1pm and the sun has just peeked out through the clouds. Then the day of metal really kicks off. Max Cavalera and the rest of Soulfly (4/5) step onto the stage and launches into 'Back To The Primitive' which was the first time of the day that the crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy. They play through a few Sepultura classics before the arrival of Slayer guiatarist Tom Araya and later on, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor to finish off a fantastic tribal set with a fantastic rendition of 'Jump tha f**k up'. Fantastic live band that easily hold their own on a big stage like this. Then it was the turn of Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society(3/5) to take control. Unfotunatly, this seemed like on big monotonic riff for the whole 45 minutes that they were on stage. Their fans certianly enjoyed it, the rest of us didn't. This is where the big stars come in, and today its in the form of Papa Roach (3/5). Watching from the hillside, I failed to get excited about this at all, despite quite liking their debut album, 'Infest'. A simple set, drawing a huge crowd. Lead singer Coby Dick was excellent at getting the crowd going and getting the crowd to shout the chorus to 'Dead Cell' is amaz
ing to watch however there eere simply not enough moments to match this to elevate themselves from mediocrity. Next up were what I can only describe as Slipknot-wannabes Mudvayne (2/5). This is only describable as noise. When will somebody tell them that wearing paint, throwing bottles of p*ss, and just randomly swearing isn't big and it certainly isn't cleaver. However, their one saving grace was the song 'Nothing To Gein', which is obviously influenced by Slipknot's 'Wait And Bleed' but is excellent none the less. Shame about the rest of the set though. Tool (4/5) hit an english stage for the first time in 4 years to the biggest non-Black Sabbath crowd of the day are drawn to the main stage to see something quite special. From the videos on the big screen to Maynard James Keenan's ''stripping'' this band are certianly 'artistic'. However the quality of the music is never in doubt. The totally unique band outshine all the nu-metal bands that had been on the very same stage just a few hours before with sublime songs like 'Stinkfist' and 'Aenima' being my personal favourites. Fantastic. Next up were american punk-metallers Amen(4/5). Trying to put one of their performances into words is almost impossible, nothing captures the energy or anger that come from a band as special as this. They perform all the classics along with a new song 'I Don't Bleed' which is set to be on the new album. Playing a new song at a festival cna be a dangerous thing for some bands but because most of Amen's material is very simmilar they pull it off with style. Casy Chaos appologises for cancelling next month's UK tour before getting the crowd to chant ''F**k Amen'' before the band launch into 'Refuse Amen'. Brutal and uncompromising, unsubtle and thrilling. Brilliant. Slipknot(3/5). Little can be said that hasn't been said before about
this band. However, how much you liked them is all due to personal taste. Personally i find them very average. The music was very repetive, however 'Wait and Bleed' and 'Spit It Out' were the exceptions to this, but the show was nothing much compared to what they have done before. Playing perviously unheard songs from the new album was not such a good idea. It started off the mass amounts of bottle throwing at the back of the crowd due to a mixture of anger and boredom from this performance. Not my cup of tea. Its now time for the headliners on the Kerrang! stage to take their turn. Lead singer David Drainman takes to the stage in a very over the top fashion before Disturbed(3.5/5) get going into a very good set. They play anthems from their debut album, 'The Sickness' with great feeling, but there was just that 'something' lacking, which was amplified by having seen so many bands today have something that the headliners dont. Songs like 'Down With The Sickness', 'Voices' and 'Shout 2000' all get fantstic reactions from the strong crowd but there seemed an indescribable emptiness to some of what I saw. Still good though. THE band of the day. The original Black Sabbath(5/5) reform and pull out all the stops. They play all the classics like 'Paranoid' and 'Snowblind' and even a new song, 'Scary Dreams' which is given a monumental reaction. They show up many of todays acts for how bad they actually are. Overall a fantastic day.
Ozzfest was held at Milton Keynes Bowl as usual and was a day long show, with bands such as Raging Speedhorn, Mudvayne, Disturbed, Soulfly, Paparoach, Tool and Black Sabbath. I'll start by saying it was an amazing day, and then try to review each of the bands, I did see them all as there are only two stages, and while one band are setting up, the other band are playing, which is a really good idea and means that you are never stuck for a band to watch. As I recall The union Underground were on first, I may be wrong, but anyway they were alright, not really my cup of tea but they seemed to be getting the crowd going. Ok, the order is wrong so they're not in order now, Apartment 26 (Geezer Butler's son's band) were alright, they were quite good, but not good enough to be at the ozzfest when they are so unknown, oh the powers of nepotism. Raging Speedhorn were really good, but not as a good as I had hoped, they didn't really give it their all, I've seen them do better than this, but they were still really good. Hed(pe)...erm, from what I can remember from them they were alright, but I was asleep at this point, sorry. Zakk Wylde's Black Label society were wicked! They totally got the crowd going and with their cheesy metal they were given an amazing reception by the crowd and were also amazingly funny. Mudvayne....erm....they seemed to be popular but I hate them, the crowd were loving them though. I slept. Soulfly were actually really good and one of the more popular acts, Max Cavalera was really giving it some and they played really well. Amen....erm, the siren was good, I'm not really into them though, but for their fans they were really good, which is the main thing. Paparoach played an absolutely rubbish set, they didn't deserve to be so high on the bill and didn't live up to their place on the bill either. Rubbish. Disturbed rocked t
he crowd with their cheesy brand of American rock, they were really wicked and I met them at the Club Kerrang thing after and they gave us their plectrums for some reason....but they were still wicked. Slipknot were higher on the bill then Tool which just upset me, but they did play a good set and played loads of songs for their fans, like new ones and rarer songs, as well as they're popular ones, and they were loved by all the thirteen year olds in boiler suits, which was wicked as thats who their main fans are anyway, and fair dos to them. Tool....ooooh Tool. This is all that I had been waiting for all day, aswell as for the past 5 years, and they did fulfill all my expectations, maybe I am a little subjective as they are one of my favourite bands, but they really did play an absolutely AMAZING set, and were PERFECT live and really were as amazing as I'd hope they would be. They didn't play any of their really old stuff, but they did play Sober, but they did only have an hour. The crowd were a bit apathetic towards Tool, but thats only to be expected over here as everyone was waiting for Slipknot to play and also Tool are still not as well known as they should be. anyway the point is that Tool pulled a blinder and I can now die happy after seeing them....they are on the the best live acts that I have EVER seen. Black Sabbath. They were absolutely AMAZING! Each one of them was totally happy to be there and were lapping up the crowd's chants and really looked like they were enjoying it as much as the crowd was. It really was truly amazing to see Black Sabbath the legends playing, and combined with seeing Tool this made the Ozzfest absolutely amazing for me, definately worth the money, and the travelling AND all of the hassle after the show just to see those two bands, but with all the other bands too it just made the day even better. However it seemed that the organisers were very keen to get people TO the bowl, b
ut after the show was finished they didn't really care where the fans went, the shuttle buses back to the station were non-existant, the signs were also non-existent, and we had tickets to the Kerrang Club so we had to get a bus to this club, but had no idea where to go, and neither did any of the staff. We met up with about 100 other people trying to get to this club and eventually (after a lot of looking) found these buses to the "Club". when we got to the club (we'd paid £10 for the tickets) it was like a school disco, which would have been alright if the music was alright, but they played the same songs over and over again. Its one saving grace was that we got previews of Slayer's new album, and also cass's new song, but still inbetween these songs they played the same stuff over and over again, and the drinks were absolutely extortionate. £3 for a pint of fosters! £2 for a can of coke! and then getting to the train station from there was a nightmare. when we did finally get to the train station there wasn't a train until 10 in the morning. We had to sleep in the bus terminal. Sorry about the rant there, but the point of that story was....go to Ozzfest next year as it really is amazing....but drive there or get a lift or a coach if you can, and avoid the Club Kerrang thing afterwards, its overpriced and a bloody hassle.