Mac Sabbath’s “More Than Meats The Eye” tour made its stop in New York City at Brooklyn Bowl last Thursday for a night that was as enjoyable comically as it was musically. Supporting the drive-thru metal legends on their trek across the States are The Cybertronic Spree and Playboy Manbaby: two bands that brought their own brand of humor, musicality and in one case, robot costumes, to the party.
Playboy Manbaby was up first and delivered a fantastic set. The band was tight and the songs were fun. Frontman Robbie Pfeffer’s mannerisms and stage presence had a David Byrne aura which, as a die hard Talking Heads fan, had me intrigued almost immediately. I appreciated the absurdity of the lyrics and Pfeffer’s confidence and endearment in the delivery of them, as well as the accompanying dance-inducing rhythms that the band laid down song after song.
Playboy Manbaby’s set included songs like “Mermaid Pterodactyl” and the instantly-stuck-in-your-head “Cadillac Car.” At the end of the set, during “You Can Be A Fascist Too,” Pfeffer hopped off the stage to divide the crowd into hypothetical sides of opinion around the inherently polarizing Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks, ultimately deciding the fate of the argument via a game of rock paper scissors between two members of the crowd.
The Cybertronic Spree were up next and I have to hand it to them, to the drummer in particular; their ability to be dressed as full fledged transformers but still play a killer set is a testament to their skill in and of itself. Costumes aside, the band showcased an impressive mix of originals and covers that included, as one would expect, the Transformers theme, as well as a particularly electrifying version of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”
Vocalists Hotrod and Arcee took turns taking the lead while the band’s very own hype robot, Soundwave, found its way around the stage to point out the talents of its fellow band members. The band’s talent spoke for itself as each member shined in their performance, both literally and figuratively. Soundwave’s hype was appreciated all the same as the extra energy helped dial the crowd up to eleven before Mac Sabbath took the stage to serve up the main course.
The stage, transformed into a circus tent, glowed red as a voiceover introduced us to the band before the curtain fell to reveal Slayer MacCheeze, Grimalice, and the Catburglar. The trio played a nod to “Black Sabbath” before launching into “Electric Funeral” – ahem, I mean “Organic Funeral.” Ronald Osbourne made his way onto the stage in a straight jacket, delivering the hilarious fast food-themed parody lyrics of the Black Sabbath classic before escaping from the straight jacket mid-song.
What followed was a set of drive-thru metal classics such as “Sweet Beef”, “Frying Pan,” and “Pair-A-Buns.” Equally as hilarious were their KISS parodies, particularly “Love Buns.” While it’s clear that the band isn’t meant to be taken seriously, Mac Sabbath is made up of some serious talent. The songs are so spot-on perfect musically that you’d swear you wear listening to the real band if the giant purple Grimace costume didn’t give it away. Through their parody shone a love and celebration of the songs they were parodying and the bands that created them.
Ronald Osbourne has perfected Ozzy Osbourne’s various stage mannerisms like his leap frog, huddled clapping, and persistent desire to run around the stage. Best of all was Ronald’s impersonation of Ozzy’s stage banter, the sporadic “YEAH”s and “WE LOVE YOU ALL!”s making me laugh every single time. A close second was his relentless onslaught of punny band names that Mac Sabbath might share a bill with like Iron MaiDenny’s. I was throwing my head back in laughter only to throw it back forward to head bang to the doomy riffs crunched out by Slayer MacCheese.
The band wrapped their set with “Pair-A-Buns” and Ronald Osbourne took a cruise around the crowd in his inflatable raft before returning to the stage to take a bow with his bandmates. Man, that show was fun.
I love shooting at Brooklyn Bowl. The lack of a photo pit is easily made up for by the plethora of vantage points from which to see the stage. I can always get a variety of angles and I can take my time doing it.
I was excited for this show because I knew that the costumery would make for some fun photos. What’s even better is that masks mean frozen expressions, so I know as long as the composition is right and the shot is in focus, it will more than likely be usable.
I practiced a lot with double exposure and feel that it paid off with a handful of shots that I’m stoked about. I’ve mentioned in the past how I’m still trying to “see” the double exposure before I try to create it and my struggles in doing so. However, this time around during my fixation with Brooklyn Bowl’s disco ball, I realized Arcee’s helmet would be a perfect counterpart. I managed to get this double exposure which is one of my favorites yet:
I’ll need to crop it to really make the double exposure stand out but I’m stoked to add it to my portfolio.
I knew that Mac Sabbath’s set would climax with Ronald Osbourne going into the crowd, so I got into position as soon as I saw them getting ready. It was a perfect moment of Osbourne sailing across the fan’s hands while the disco ball shone behind him. The only problem was my camera wasn’t seeing it because there was barely any other light. I kept shooting anyway, hoping I’d get something salvageable. With the help of Lightroom’s A.I. Denoise tool, I managed to get this shot:
An epic moment from an epic show. Definitely one of the most fun ones I’ve been to this year.