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Mommy Goes Back To Metal: A Surly Middle-Aged Woman’s Review Of Ozzfest/Knotfest 2016
Marissa Bergen   |  

Ozzfest Knotfest 2016 banner

Don’t ask me why I decided to go to Ozzfest/Knotfest this year. Normally an annual rite of passage for my husband and our 13-year-old son, I somehow got it in my head that it would be a fun thing for me and my 9-year-old daughter to tag along this year. Perhaps it is all part of my middle-aged crisis that is also attempting to convince me that I am a somewhat relevant rock n’ roll star who is destined for success in my family band (#thecheesebergens), but anyway”¦

I was approaching the festival in what already looked like miserable conditions as hot winds kicked up dust storms all over the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, CA. Early thoughts on the parking lot situation: Why do schlubby guys feel like it’s necessary to take off their shirts and stand in the beds of their pickup trucks? And why are there so many more of them taking off their shirts than the ones who actually look good without shirts? But there were plenty of those too”¦shout out to the twin shirtless heavy metal cowboys with man buns (yes, you are reading that correctly!).

Now, it occurred to me that maybe I should actually review all the bands I saw, but the truth is, I’m an opinionated bastard and would probably get tons of hate mail”¦not that I wouldn’t have lots of good things to say too, but let me just try and focus on the positive.

Okay, so Huntress. One of the few bands that is still putting the sexy in metal. I like the singer because that’s the code of metal babes, plus I like the way she screams in that song when the music gets loud. She also has a really dishy guitar player that I hear is looking for a surly middle-aged mother of two, so hands off ladies!!


After that, we were unable to stand in the sun anymore so we went off to seek a grassy knoll. It was there that we saw several men in kilts and lovingly named them the Kilt Cult. From my on-the-floor advantage, I wondered if taking an upskirt picture of them would result in a case for reverse discrimination or be seen as some wonderful form of feminism. Discuss amongst yourselves.

And while we’re on the subject of fashion, it hasn’t really evolved much since the late 90s with the edgiest girls leaving off just about where Marilyn Manson came in. Current rock fashion forecasts call for more leg tattoos and colored hair dye on the ladies, skinny jeans for the men. There was one girl who was wearing nothing but a 99 Cent Store bag with electrical tape and pink hot pants. I told her I had the same one (the bag), but never thought of wearing it as a shirt. I voted her most original look of the night, but then I heard she was into Gaga.

Grassy Knoll

[The fam relaxes on a grassy knoll. Sorry the pic is so blurry, that’s the sand storm.]

As the dulcet tones of Goatwhore washed over us, we wondered if it would really be so bad to just sit there for the remainder of the day and tell everyone how fucked up we got at Knotfest, but we finally managed to move on and caught some of Suicidal Tendencies‘ set, the last band to play the side stage.

Okay, so quick digression here”¦what is Suicidal Tendencies doing playing the side stage? I’ve seen many a metal festival bill where bands like Suicidal and Anthrax get billing several slots down from the headliners. What’s up with that? They’ve been around forever, just let them get top billing. And for that matter, what’s the deal with Slayer opening for Slipknot? I mean, I know Slipknot put the whole bill together, but come on! Slayer is like The Beatles of metal!

Okay, so we made it into the main arena and since I’m trying to accentuate the positive”¦ Megadeth. There’s that. (All the mommies sing “Peas, peas sell, peas sell, but who’s buying? Can you put a price on peas?”) There was also an older guy up there with his teenage son who befriended me. He insisted on showing me video from the last Guns N’ Roses concert in San Diego and kept telling me, “All anybody really cares about seeing is Axl and Slash”¦unless you’re like, a real diehard fan”¦”

Megadeth The Daves at Ozzfest Knotfest 2016

Senior moments”¦I was sitting there on the grass and about to get up when someone behind me asked if I needed help. I chose to ignore him”¦although my knees never quite forgave me. I was also personally ushered across the entrance to the pit as if I were a 75-year-old woman. Oh well, usher lady”¦joke’s on you cause I just totally used my husband’s ticket to sneak into the pit”¦ BOOM!

Black Sabbath Ozzfest 2016

Now, I promised I wouldn’t rag on anybody, but I will say that there were some bands who just looked like they were over it already and I won’t name names (cough, cough Slayer, cough, cough, Black Sabbath). It seemed like they just had a job to do and wanted to get it over with and get home as soon as possible. As a matter of fact, Ozzy kept complaining he was sick and played in front of a plethora of liquids and pills (and possibly a defibrillator) all present to keep him going although honestly, he sounded fine and the whole band sounded really good if just a bit under enthusiastic, but what can you expect, right? Quality of performance notwithstanding, the band played a shortened set, an hour at the most, and 15 minutes of that was dedicated to their young, “˜not Bill Ward drummer’ doing about a 15-minute drum solo.

Slayer Ozzfest 2016

The second day of the festival was Knotfest (as opposed to Ozzfest) and better musically on the whole, (I have to say Trivium won me over even though I thought they might be too proggy for me), but there was a lot of dragging between bands which resulted in the show running nearly an hour over and some shortened sets. So, sorry to say we missed Slipknot and you can say what you will about me being an old lady and it’s probably all true, but I do have a 9-year-old daughter who needed to be up for school in the morning.

As for how my daughter fared, well she’s my daughter so of course there was plenty of complaining plus some falling asleep on her feet and nearly getting caught in a mosh. But that’s okay, because apparently dozens of metal fans think that we are “raising them right” and are “parents of the year,” so put that in your pipe and smoke it, or as Jill Janus of Huntress (who I always want to call Doro) says, “Fill your bong with stars and smoke the galaxy.” That’s me until next year when we all forget about how miserable we were this year and decide to go again.

Here I am at the ‘Fest with my children, “caught in a mosh”…

Marissa, Jesse and Anjelica Moshing At Knot Fest

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