There is a fine line between parody and novelty, and bands choosing this path must walk it with tightrope balance and precision. Make no mistake, Mac Sabbath is definitely balanced and precise as an erstwhile tribute to Ozzy and company, but there is nothing nuanced or subtle about their message or the insane method of their delivery. Imagine a better-than-average Metal/Hard Rock band obsessed with the music of Black Sabbath and the GWAR/Slipknot ideology of costuming and character development, and yet somehow equally (and perhaps chemically) focused on McDonald’s, their vast array of near-food objects and the characters that promote them.
If that all sounds highly unlikely, it’s nothing compared to the reality of Mac Sabbath in the flesh. Tony Iommi gets mashed up with Mayor McCheese, who sports Viking horns as tusks and peels off familiar Sabbath riffs with ear-bleeding ease and facility. Geezer Butler and Grimace channel each other’s spirit animals and provide thunderous bass runs, while Bill Ward’s drum wizardry is represented by the Hamburgler as a Halloween refugee dressed up for trick or treating as Peter Criss’s cosmic cat. And topping it all off is Ronald Osbourne, a tweaker’s nightmare where Ronald McD is possessed by the scorched big-top malevolence of Pennywise, singing familiar Sabbath melodies to lyrics that rhapsodize about various and sundry fast food delights in their self-described Drive Thru Metal stylings. It’s horrifyingly irresistible.
Mac Sabbath formed in 2014 and began performing around Southern California. A video of their “Iron Man” parody, “Frying Pan,” went viral at year’s end, with print and online publications agreeing that Mac Sabbath was not merely a great tribute band but a tight and brilliantly themed act. Over the past five years, the band has toured relentlessly here and abroad and amassed a solid fan base; Ozzy Osbourne himself has given Mac Sabbath his blessing. To this point, the only actual recording Mac has done is “Pair-A-Buns,” their parody of “Paranoid, which they released on a flexi-disc and as a video. They released their sophomore video last year, “Sweet Beef,” their spin on “Sweet Leaf.”
Expect a full bore, multimedia experience, with inflatable chesseburgers, laser eyed clown heads, giant condiment dispensers and video projections that make Alice Cooper seem tame and un-dosed by comparison. And if you somehow needed another level surrealism — the Mac is touring with Okilly Dokilly, a Metal band themed around uptight, fatherly Simpsons nerd Ned Flanders, down to the lyrics and dress code.
7:30 p.m. doors; 8:30 p.m. show Aug. 3. $16 advance; $20 day of. Woodward Theater, 1401 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com.