Ozzfest

Ozzy Osbourne may be a doddering old relic and his wife (and festival coordinator) a shrill, overexposed harpy, but Osbourne's namesake festival has remained amazingly successful as it hits its tenth anniversary. For a full day of unironic metal horns, black clothing and so much headbanging that the area should include an onsite chiropractor, Ozzfest is still the place to be.

Why? Because Ozzfest truly knows its audience, and caters to it by offering a little something for everyone in the hard rock and hardcore communities, not to mention all the tribes in the metalhead world, be they of the speed, death or plain ol' heavy persuasion. (If only the Middle East could get its warring factions together like this.) The 2005 main stage features a yet-again-reunited Black Sabbath, Velvet Revolver (subbing for Iron Maiden), last year's breakout artist Shadows Fall and the underrated Black Label Society. Meanwhile, Ozzfest's second stage, where cutting-edge acts abound, is infinitely more interesting. Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, the Black Dahlia Murder and Soilwork all will bring the noise there, not to mention Mastodon, the Atlanta metal outfit famous for its critically acclaimed concept record based on Moby-Dick. Throw in Dallas's A Dozen Furies (winner of the televised Battle for Ozzfest show) and the theatrics of film auteur Rob Zombie, and you'll see where metal is headed rather than where it's been. Ozzy has just announced that this year's show will be his last as headliner, so now he'll be able to spend the rest of his summers picking up piles of dogshit off his carpet.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero