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Alicia's Annual Look at this Year's Edition of Ozzfest and
her Guide to the Acts Worth Seeing

by Alicia Downs

Every year summer camp for metal bands rolls around. You know summer is in town (and Ozzfest) when you see fleets of Prevosts rolling down I-95 from one venue to the next. So it is with that anticipation and summer standard that us metal folk eagerly await the announcements of who will be part of this year's Ozzfest.

Last year, when the Ozzfest line-up press release came out, everyone snubbed their noses at the bands and wondered what happened to the summer festival that once booked heavy hitters like Pantera and Soulfly but was now turning to the butterfly ballads of Crazytown and rap/rock of Linkin Park. And it was with that line-up that people really started sitting back and thinking to themselves, where's the metal?

After last year's Ozzfest, rumors stirred early on that this year's line up would be a return to the heavy hitting metal that made the summer concert series the must-have ticket for any person that understands the significance of "Ride the Lighting." And so, when this year's line-up announcement was released, I took a close look at the bands and realized that this year's rendition, while still not close to the days when this metal menagerie started, has some promising bands and a lot more heavy hitters.

So it's about that time again where we break down the bands of Ozzfest so you know when to fight your way to the front of the stage and when you should opt for the lines of overpriced beer and soggy nachos instead.

Heavy Metal God
What would Ozzfest be without Ozzy? After headlining with Black Sabbath the past few years, the Ozzman is back headlining the main stage and showing the newcomers how it's done.

Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society will open the main stage and sure enough, as always, be a hard act to follow.

The coveted main stage support act for Ozzy was given to System of a Down. Riding high off of the success of their "Toxicity" CD and a successful stint on Slipknot's "Pledge of Allegiance" tour, SOAD are sure to please a majority of the masses. Even if you aren't a fan of SOAD's music, their live show is always an energy filled temptation.

After being shuffled around Ozzfest this year, Rob Zombie was originally set as second stage headliner, Zombie was moved to main stage filling the slot left open by the departure of the Chris Cornell/Rage project. Zombie, an Ozzfest alum, will no doubt own the stage every night. However, if you are looking for the pyro-laden stage antics as seen on the Merry Mayhem tour, think again. Zombie is insistent that he will be playing a stripped down set reminiscent of the his early days with White Zombie.

Sinners and Saints...
P.O.D. (Payable on Death) fill in the next main stage slot. The Christian pseudo-metal rockers have an excellent live show, if not music. What should be interesting to see is what happens when you combine the fans (AKA Sinners) of the band that takes the stage prior with that of POD's WWJD masses. If you're a sinner you'll definitely want to see last year's Ozzfest sensation Drowning Pool taking it to the main stage. These guys are truly the Cinderella story of metal, after being booked last year as the third stage opening band they ended the tour as support for second stage headliners Mudvayne with a platinum selling debut album. Not bad for four guys from Texas. But the key thing with Drowning Pool is that I have yet to see a bad live show. Their sound is always on the mark and the guys are always looking to convert a few P.O.D. fans along the way.

Giving In... Corporate America, Adema rounds out the main stage. These pseudo-musicians ('cause I am not even sure you could call it music let alone metal) were featured on Disturbed's "Music as a Weapon Tour" but their biggest claim to fame has been the fact that lead singer Mark Chavez is half-brother to Korn front man Jonathan Davis. With their second single "The Way You Like It" off of their self-titled debut album seeing mild success on both MTV2 and MTVX, Adema are the first of several MTV darlings on this year's bill. All I can say is at least they are a step up from Crazytown and encourage flashing.

Going Down?
The unquestionable highlight on Ozzfest this year will be seeing Phil Anselmo's side project DOWN taking the headlining second stage slot. What started off as a side project for a group of NOLA-based established musicians has become a name and a force in its own right. After selling nearly half a million copies of their debut album "NOLA" with the support of only 23 concert dates, DOWN is going all out pushing their sophomore effort "DOWN II." The band is currently preparing to embark on a headlining tour of small clubs the end of April throughout May before resting up and joining the Ozzfest crowd. Without a doubt, DOWN will be the band everyone huddles over to the second stage to see.

With their second major release "Perseverance" just hitting stores, Hatebreed will be second stage support for headliners DOWN. And if you wanted metal back at Ozzfest, you do not have to look any further then these alumnus. They rocked the second stage last year and with a new album to promote so rest assured Hatebreed will not disappoint.

That was all I could think when I heard this group was going to be on the second stage - finally some unadulterated metal at this year's metal-fest. Swedish metal band Meshuggah will be taking the stage this year. Rumor has it that Meshuggah were hand pick by Jack Osbourne. And with the one, two, three punch of Meshuggah, Hatebreed, and DOWN on second stage, those bands alone will make Ozzfest worth the price of admission.

Finishing out Second Stage... a much milder group of musicians who, combined, cannot even come close to the ferocity of Meshuggah. Sharon (Osbourne) has to book something to draw the ladies and frat boys in this year and with MTV darlings The Apex Theory and Lost Prophets that void is filled. Now might be a nice time to check out some of the annual attractions of the Village of the Damned.

Also on the bill are rockers Neurotica who saw their big break after catching the attention of AC/DC front man Brian Johnson. Neurotica may not be the heaviest band on Ozzfest, but they will definitely be worth checking out before heading over to the T-shirt stands while The Apex Theory and Lost Prophets are playing.

Finally, we have Pulse Ultra who will be opening the second stage. The band has a deal with Atlantic Records and has a release date of July 16, 2002 set for their debut album "Headspace." To be honest the only offering I have heard from Pulse Ultra is their first single "Big Brother" and I thought it sucked. If that is any indication of the rest of their music and their live show, I think I might opt to scale the rock wall or press my luck with the mechanical bull. (Editor's note: Alicia, we want photos!)

From July 6 through August 7, Ozzfest will also feature the following acts: 
Andrew WK: Sucks Royally.
Flaw: They don't suck as bad as Andrew WK, but they still suck.
3rd Strike: Melodic yet lame. I think they may beat out Andrew WK in terms of sucking.
Otep: Ozzfest Alumnus and solid band, if you didn't catch Otep last year this is your chance to make up for it.
Soil: Rumor has had it that Soil would be on at least a portion of the Ozzfest bill after their success opening the Merry Mayhem tour. I have never been a big fan of Soil or their live show, but the slot could have been filled by a far worse band. And at least Soil constitutes metal.
Ill Nino: Out of this group Ill Nino gets the nod. These guys are presently on fire on the Jagermeister tour with Drowning Pool and, if there is one band to watch this year, Ill Nino would have to be it. Look for them to draw crowds and pick things up as the tour goes on. The only thing I have yet to figure out about Ill Nino is why they have a member that wears no shirt and a backpack on stage and looks like an Emo kid on crack doing spin kicks. Regardless, it would not surprise me in the least if their invitation to Ozzfest is extended until the end of summer.

From August 10 through September 8, Ozzfest will feature...
Mushroomhead: What do you get when you multiply Slipknot by two and take away any and all talent? You guessed it. Avoid them at all costs.
Seether: A lighter band complete with melody and radio friendly compositions, Seether is still a solid group worth checking out.
Chevelle: More of a rock band bordering with pop sensibilities then anything. To give you an idea, they are presently on tour with Local H. Chevelle will fit in fine with Lost Prophets and The Apex Theory rather then some of the more genuine metal acts on the bill. Maybe the three former will combine to go AWOL and do us all a favor.
Glassjaw: These guys will be doing a few dates on the Warped Tour before heading out on the last leg of Ozzfest. They have played shows with the likes of Hatebreed, Converge, and God Forbid. Glassjaw is one of those bands who will be well worth your time and attention.
The Used: This is the only band on the bill I haven't heard of and could not find anything on. I guess time will tell if they make waves or continue their ambiguity.
Switched: Some people like them. I am not "some people."

Tour dates for Ozzfest 2002 are as follows:
July 6 Bristow, VA Nissan Pavilion ON SALE APRIL 13
July 7 Pittsburgh, PA Post-Gazette Pavilion ON SALE APRIL 12
July 10 Scranton, Pa. Montage Mtn. ON SALE APRIL 13
July 12 Camden, NJ Tweeter Center ON SALE APRIL 13
July 13 Hartford, CT Amph. ON SALE APRIL 13
July 16 Boston, MA Tweeter Center ON SALE APRIL 13
July 19 Holmdel, NJ PNC Center ON SALE APRIL 13
July 24 Raleigh, NC Alltel Pavilion ON SALE APRIL 13
July 26 West Palm Beach, FL Mars Music Amph. ON SALE APRIL 13
July 28 Atlanta, GA Hi-Fi Buys Amph. ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 3 Columbus, OH Polaris Amph. ON SALE APRIL 27
Aug. 4 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music CenterN SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 7 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Center ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 10 Chicago, IL Tweeter Center ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 11 East Troy, WI Alpine Valley ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 13 Indianapolis, IN Verizon Amph. ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 15 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Amph. ON SALE APRIL 27
Aug. 17 Somerset, WI Float-Rite Park ON SALE MAY 31
Aug. 19 St. Louis, MO Riverport Amph. ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 20 Kansas City, MO Sandstone Amph. ON SALE JUNE 22
Aug. 22 Denver, CO Pepsi/City Lights ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 25 Sacramento, CA Sacramento Valley Amph. ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 27 George, WA The Gorge ON SALE APRIL 13
Aug. 29 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amph. ON SALE APRIL 14
Aug. 31 San Bernardino, CA Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion ON SALE APRIL 13
Sept. 5 Phoenix, AZ Cricket Pavilion ON SALE APRIL 13
Sept. 7 San Antonio, TX Verizon Wireless Amph. ON SALE MAY 18
Sept. 8 Dallas, TX Smirnoff Amph. ON SALE APRIL 26

Up to the date information including set times, schedule, and band changes can be found none other then

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:11 -0400