Young Love

Valley bar performers pool resources for a night to worship Neil Young – without blaspheming his music

Those folks stayed home. In their place came the heavily tattooed, black-bandanna-wearing, black-eye-shadow-wearing, lip-pierced, pickup-driving followers of Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Korn and the event's other headliners. You know, the sort that normally don't come out during the day and looked out of place under the baking sun.

The event unfolded on two stages. The main stage was reserved for bands with intense music industry support, which is to say, artists with the focus-group-tested style of populism. Local active rock station KUPD-FM sponsored the festival (its annual U-Fest morphed into this year's Ozzfest stop). Disturbed, the prime example of nü-metal's growing artlessness, plopped through its set, led by the laughably hokey David Draiman.

"Apparently, the Africa hotness of this weather is fucking with our equipment," Draiman said during a protracted delay. Without skipping a beat, Draiman launched into a plea for the audience to make as much noise as possible. The band, he intimated, could thrive off that energy.

Please.

The festival's second stage, however, featured bands that couldn't get on the radio if they blew every program director in America. These acts included the notoriously intense British death-metalers Cradle of Filth. The band looked positively out of place in their black-leather, studded stage outfits and macabre makeup. Lead singer and chief mouthpiece Dani Filth, in his best demonic voice, implored the crowd to use their "fried brains" to inspire the band, which launched into such growling odes to the fucked-up afterlife as "The Forest Whispers My Name."

It was the most welcome aspect of a day otherwise filled with suffering and banality.

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