I like to think anyone can appreciate a joke band with a solid gimmick. Just as long as it doesn’t go over people’s heads, anyone should get it under the right circumstances.
That’s what drew me to Buffalo’s Tralf Music Hall on the March 23 to see the Mockstrosity tour, a collection of three such joke bands with substantial cult followings taking their gimmicks nationwide. Hell, the show posters show an evil Ronald McDonald, a black-clad mariachi member, and stupid sexy Ned Flanders tearing up buildings Godzilla-style. They are well aware of their jokes and embrace it wholeheartedly.
Oh I had questions as to how these bands decided to tour together in the first place. But I left my sense of reality at the door, choosing to believe the story Mac Sabbath singer Ronald Osborne told the audience during their set. Evidently, Mac Sabbath was tired of playing with other “Drive-Thru Metal” bands, like Twisted Sizzler and Bauhaus of Pancakes, writer of the hit song “Taco Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” and organized an “international” tour with bands of different metal genres.
The first act, Okilly Dokilly, the world’s only “Nedal” band, came on stage rather unceremoniously. Amidst the covered props for the other acts, the five members, with their green sweaters, khakis, and Ned Flanders mustaches, gave the audience their first sense of leaving reasonable music taste outside. The singer, “Head Ned,” greeted the audience with a “Howdilly Doodilly neighboreenos!” in his best Ned Flanders voice before starting off with “They Warned Me (that the devil would be attractive).”
Their entire setlist was like a rundown of the most quotable Ned Flander’s phrases. Songs like “Godspeed Little Doodle,” “You’re a Jerk,” and the time Ned Flanders was the devil and tricked Homer into eating a donut to steal his soul. Since the whole joke is centered on how a metalcore band writes songs about such an innocent character, it’s all the more amusing how Head Ned alternates between screaming the lyrics and resuming his impression in between songs. This goes to the extreme as he goes on a monologue about how left-handed people are at war with society in general (like spiral notebooks and pants). He would also occasionally wrestle with the keyboardist on stage, when the keyboard wasn’t being thrown around of course.
Okilly Dokilly ended their show with arguably the most iconic Flander’s quote of them all, “Nothing at All.” Head Ned even revealed himself to be wearing a ski suit underneath his other outfit, to which he just had to say, “Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.” With one last “Nedal” hoorah, including a bit of the Offspring’s “Gone Away,” Okilly Dokilly left the stage as unceremoniously as they came on.
The second crazy act on, Metalachi, was lead on stage with a hype man, claiming they’d convert all the Metalachi virgins in the crowd tonight. With a setup that included bra-covered microphones and outfits like any 80’s metal band would wear, the five-piece band, from Juarez, Mexico by way of Los Angeles, launched right away with “Symphony of Destruction” and “Ace of Spades.” Between songs, there would be plenty of banter between the singer, Veca de la Rockha, and the trumpeter, El Cucuy, joking about being so close to the Canadian border and finding a girl to get a green card.
The range of their covers was all over the place. The beginning had them singing the likes of Dio, Def Leppard, and Guns N Roses, before moving onto Sublime and Journey, where the big guitar player, Nacho Picante, sang “Open Arms,” to an audience member decked out in skull facepaint. Then the violinist, “Queen” Kyla Vera,” performed an instrumental medley containing the likes of Metallica, Zeppelin, and Iron Maiden before moving onto more Metallica, AC/DC, and ending with “Raining Blood.”