What would you do to celebrate your 90th birthday? A small gathering with friends and family perhaps? Maybe have dinner at your favorite restaurant (Early Bird special, of course!). If you’re the Granada Theater in Lawrence Kansas, you throw a block party, with food, drink, mini golf, a DJ, and of course a big concert inside.
Saturday night, the Granada Theater played host to Mac Sabbath’s More than Meats the Eye tour, presented by 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Lawrence’s favorite vintage toy and collectibles store. The bill included Phoenix’s ska punk PLAYBOY MANBABY, Toronto’s nerd rock, Autobot (and totally not human) CYBERTRONIC SPREE, and drive through (who knew another sub-genre was needed) metal sensation MAC SABBATH.
PLAYBOY MANBABY kicked things off as people were still filtering in. Their style seemed very different from the other bands on the bill, lacking some of the heavier elements of their showmates. They don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, and have catchy hooks leaving the audience chanting things like I wanna go to work and tell my boss “Fuck you!”. If you’ve been around the internet for a while, you might remember an early parody She Frickin’ Blocked Me (The Internet Hate Song). This is what PLAYBOY MANBABY most reminded me of. Simple chords, hilarious lyrics, with catchy hooks. They were the perfect opener for the tour.
Now, what can be said about CYBERTRONIC SPREE? What are the Autobots to do after saving Earth from the Decepticons? Why, put together a rock band and go on the convention circuit, of course! Made up of Hot Rod, Unicron, Arcee, Shockwave, and Quintesson, they perform songs from the soundtrack of the 1986 film, nerd favorites, like the themes from Pokemon, and Power Rangers theme (mashed up with the Doom theme, of course), with originals sprinkled in for good measure. Their first album of originals, Ravage, was recently released on CD (and cassette). True to form, their originals are very 80s, in the best possible way. Heavy synths, sick guitar solos, and a sprinkle of Flashdance. Now that I think about it, a Transformers meets Flashdance mashup would be pretty epic. If you’re a fan of the 80s, Transformers, or nerd culture at all, you don’t want to miss out on CYBERTRONIC SPREE.
Soon it was time for the main course of the evening, the “meat” of the tour: MAC SABBATH. I’ve already seen them twice before at Knuckleheads in Kansas City, so was ready for more Happy Meal mayhem. Fronted by the deranged Ronald Osbourne, with Slayer McCheese, Grimalice, and the Cat Burglar rounding things out, the band played their own twisted versions of Black Sabbath favorites.
With a grill center stage, that would regularly billow smoke (and be used by Ronald to grill mystery meat throughout the night), the atmosphere was complete. The show starts with Ronald rushing onstage in a straitjacket, fighting hard to get out, while performing Organic Funeral (a parody of Electric Funeral). It should be noted, that Slayer McCheese nails Tommy Iommi’s guitar tone.
The lyrics could serve as a commentary on horrors, and health scares of fast food, but I think that’s thinking too deeply. After all, singing about ingesting poison is pretty damn metal.
Asparagine in the fries
Warn you of synthetic food dyes
Warm numbing, feeling inside,
From the poisons that are fried
Monsanto run FDA,
ONLY LEGAL IN THE USA!
Of course, being as niche as Mac Sabbath, certain unique tour opportunities open up; Ronald Osbourne joked about offers with bands like, “Cinna Bon Jovi, Burger King Diamond, and Optimus Prime Rib.” Which actually sounds like a helluva lineup. There’s something to it…It’s my life, and I want it sweet!
One would think that the gags would get stale as quickly as a Big Mac bun, but the clever lyrics, talented musicianship, and on-stage antics (including biting the head off of a bat) somehow work much better than they have any right to.
We found ways to feed cows scraps
Of other cows that get left behind
Some go mad and some feel real
Happiness and some go blind
The next time you’re craving something a little fatty, and salty, stop on by with Mac Sabbath. Their ice cream machine is never broken, and the food is perfectly safe to eat. Probably.