United Kingdom | by
Anna Hyams | 21 September 2010
Overall – 8/10
Ozzy Osbourne’s indoor rampage comes to London’s O2 Arena, packing serious punch with support from some of metal’s elite corps. Nu-metal royalty Korn and LA glamsters Steel Panther join the Prince of Darkness on his latest quest to corrupt the UK. With two stages and pyrotechnics abound, Ozzy’s set to ‘Scream’ his way back into the scene.
Getting there and back – 6/10
Whilst it is easy to navigate, if you’re driving to the O2 Arena for an event be ready to add another hour onto the time your satnav has given you – as through the city and across the Thames there can be a bit of a wait.
This particular weekend, Ozzfest coincides with the Papal visit and central London roadworks make the trip longer than usual but it is a Saturday afternoon anyway. If you live close enough, obviously the tube is a good option, but do check out your timings before you go, especially if you’re going to hit the after-party and drink till dawn. You might have to kip in a station and wait for the first morning train instead!
If you’re not a Londoner, be prepared to spend more than your ticket on travel, as the car park alone costs a hefty £20, and that’s if you pre-book. With trains, tube and taxis, this can build up too, so book way in advance if you can or make really good friends with someone who lives locally while you’re there.
Atmosphere – 7/10
Though the usual spirit of metal is present and fans are typically friendly, this is definitely no festival. There is an abundance of security, putting a stop to any festival-like antics you usually see and people are, for the large part, fairly sober, probably due to the cost of the alcohol.
The site – 9/10
The O2 arena promotes an enclosed space in which you can host multi-area events, but it seems that Ozzfest hasn’t really embraced this. The second stage is in a huge space that also houses ‘The Village’ which consists of a couple of shops, including the obligatory New Rock stall as well as some hot-dog carts and two fair ground rides. It all looks like a bit of a lame effort in the end and perhaps shouldn’t have been billed as a separate section.
The only cash point for the site is a freestanding charge one which is outside the no re-entry point, so make sure you have enough on you to last the day. Most food outlets and shops inside do accept card, however be aware that if you buy anything big from the stalls (e.g. a pair of boots), you’ll have to carry them around with you for the rest of the day due to the no re-entry rule. A bit of a mad idea considering tickets are all exchanged for wristbands anyway.
The main stage venue is undoubtedly fantastic and specifically designed so that everyone – even those in the nosebleeds – can see and the sound is fantastic all day. The large standing area has been thoughtfully augmented with a huge bar at the back and various drinks sellers going through the crowds, meaning there is no need to trek all the way back upstairs to the static bars on the seating floor.
Music – 8/10
Ozzy Osbourne – 9/10
With June 2010’s ‘Scream’, Ozzy Osbourne is ready to blow apart the UK rock-metal scene once again. With his cult status in Britain he could have easily just come and played it safe with all the old hits, but ever the artist Ozzy put his heart and soul into the new tracks which come off as instant anthems. Armed with a foam gun and buckets of ice-cold water, Ozzy manages to soak pretty much everyone in the first four rows as well as a number of startled photographers. Though he seemed to be having a whale of a time playing to the home crowd, it is apparent that Ozzy is not on top form following a cancelled German tour date due to serious back problems. A few missed notes and lyrics here and there betrayed his confident persona, but the showman reigned and battled through to put on an incredible show. ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Paranoid’ get the desired response and all eyes are on the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness, who without a doubt is still deserving of his title.
Steel Panther – 10/10
LA Glam-rockers Steel Panther rip up the Ozzfest stage with heavy riffs, Mr. Motivator-style lycra and uninhibited debauchery. These back-combed bad boys hype-up the huge crowd with the likes of ‘Community Property’, a love ballad about promiscuity with the line “If suddenly you were a guy, I’d be suddenly gay”. Lock up your daughters; the Panther’s reign is just beginning.
Korn – 8/10
Kings of nu-metal Korn explode onto the main stage with flame-throwing pyrotechnics and almost too-close-for-comfort fireworks with a deafening bang and proceed to blast out anthems from the average festival-goers’ teenage angst years. Jonathan Davis belts out the old ‘fuck everyone’ hymns in his traditional three-stripe tracksuit and vest look, inciting circle-pits and mild violence from the front row right to the back. Davis’ own dancing brings to mind seizures; he looks like a man possessed and the crowd love it.
Black Spiders – 9/10
These hard-rock heavies have only been on the main scene since 2008 but certainly know how to spin a crowd into a head-banging frenzy. Black Spiders’ style hails back to the likes of Led Zep and Black Sabbath and they really put an old-school spin on the day, taking control of the Jagermeister stage as if it were their own. They even have inflatable spiders to throw out to the crowd. Brilliant.
Murderdolls – 6/10
Though the hardcore fans at the front appear to be having the time of their lives watching horror-punk creeps Murderdolls flail around the stage, those up in the seating appear to slowly thin out in favour of food, booze and the second stage. Covered in black paint, fur and talcum powder, frontman Wednesday looks more like a disgruntled Orc than the lead vocalist but with new tracks from 2010’s ‘Women and Children Last’, Murderdolls manage to cast their darkness over the O2 arena, albeit only as far as the standing area.
Paradise Lost – 6/10
Heavy metal veterans Paradise Lost draw only a mediocre crowd at the Jagermeister stage, probably due to the fact that they are billed at exactly the same time as Korn, but it soon becomes obvious that the something is amiss. The sound is off and the band looked bored, a shame as the group have years of quality metal under their belts. The crowd is largely non-responsive and the Paradise guys, well, they looked Lost.
An unexpected near-collision with Herman Li of Dragonforce just hanging about near the bars during Korn, meant a quick chat about the bands and how he hadn’t actually been recognised a lot since he arrived. Li joked: “I’m not really me, I’m a lookalike,” and that “us Asian guys all look the same anyway!”