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Tribute acts, eh? Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are now an established and accepted part of the live music experience. Some good, some absolutely abysmal and one or two, maybe, possibly, great. Some can, and do, go to ridiculous lengths to replicate every conceivable facet of their heroes’ act, from plastic surgery to King’s ransoms on costumes and props. This is not the time, or the place, though, for a debate regarding the key attributes of a successful tribute act; is authenticity the primary goal? A little humour and self deprecation the key factor? Or maybe technical finesse over and above all else? For this writer’s money, greedy mofo that he is, a blend of all the above is the secret to earning the Moonshine Seal of Approval.

And so, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Sack Sabbath. Probably sufficient information, right there, for you to deduce this is not a West Life tribute…

Unlike eight out of ten other leading brands of Sabbath tribs, the Sacksters concentrate purely on the Ozzy-era and, it has to be said, they’re some experience. Comprising front man, Ozzy Oddbin (great moniker), guitarist, Tony I.O.U. (inspired), drummer, Bill Board (even better), and bassist, Geezer I-can’t-believe-it’s-not Butler (outstanding), Sack Sabbath were amusing, extremely entertaining and, musically, highly impressive.
Visually, they struck just the right balance. Oddbin, complete with granny glasses, fringed top and an authentic 70s-era Ozzy barnet, did his famous namesake justice, with I.O.U. favouring a more restrained version of his alter ego, with black, fringed jacket and that iconic silver cross swinging across his chest.

The rhythm section, deciding to leave the theatrics to the two front men, and looking like any other pair of ordinary Joes, provided a little balancing sanity.

The packed house enjoyed every minute of it. And why wouldn’t they with all the Sabbath classics you care to mention despatched with accuracy, precision and skill? N.I.B., Fairies Wear Boots and Iron Man so faithfully replicated and yet, somehow, with a certain something the band made the songs their own.

Almost as impressive was the sound they managed to conjure. It was, actually, a little eerie hearing that retro, fuzz-drenched wall of noise, so authentically like the genuine article, slamming at you from just a few feet away. If eyes had been closed, ears would have been fooled.

Bill Board or, more accurately, Bored, judging by his inscrutable expression and general air of disinterest, nevertheless turned in one of the tightest and most polished performances I’ve ever seen from a tribute drummer. War Pigs, in particular, benefitting from his attention to detail and total command of the material

A Sabbath signature, certainly during their 70s heyday, was the distinctive tone of Ward’s bass and the way it doubled the riffs before spiralling off into zany, Entwistle-like, minor pentatonic work-outs. The fact that they were so effortlessly reproduced here was only marginally less impressive than the fact they were delivered by a musician who, literally, appeared to be asleep on his feet. Or maybe he was trapped Behind The Wall Of Sleep? Sorry…

And while we’re talking attention to detail, kudos to the excellent I.O.U. who rarely took the easy way out. No cheating on Paranoid for, instance. Nope. That famous riff was hammered out on the twelfth fret, complete with Iommi’s tricky appoggiaturas stylishly peeled off.

But it’s not just musical excellence with these chaps; Oddbin was a hysterically realistic Ozzy, complete with sly references to the fucked-up lifestyle, marital traumas and fondness for chemicals surely now as famous as the songs that can rightly claim to be the genesis of heavy metal.

That nasal West Midlands whine sounded more like Ozzy than Ozzy (all the more remarkable considering it’s progenitor hails from Beeston)and Children Of The Grave and Symptom Of The Universe were better value for money than the palsied, shambolic, self-parodied buffoon can offer himself these days.

Outstanding entertainment and if you can find better, I’ll eat my Rat Salad…




Sack Sabbath’s gig at the Tripp last Saturday was my first involvement in booking bands and I was very pleased to be Justin’s wingman for this event. As I had initially found the band and recommended them, I was keeping my fingers crossed that they would be as good as their reputation led me to believe. As it happened, they exceeded those expectations and turned out to be one of the best tribute bands I have ever seen. I saw Black Sabbath back in 1972 on the Master of Reality tour, but I enjoyed this performance every bit as much. There was a lot of fun being had on stage and “Ozzy” had me laughing out loud on any number of occasions. Tremendous musicianship and a very appreciative, knowledgeable audience made for a fantastic evening. I had a chat with the lead singer after the bands sound-check and he told me the sign of a good gig is when the audience join in with War Pigs…which they did very vocally at the Tripp! It was also great to hear songs like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Snowblind and of course, Iron Man. Paranoid, as you’d expect, brought the house down…my ears have only just stopped ringing! Hopefully, this will be the first of many collaborations between Big Just and The Bishop, so I’m looking forward to more evenings like this. Sack Sabbath had a great time as well, so expect them back before too long!
- The Bishop.


Ok hands up the people who didn't go to see Sack Sabbath then,well i am shocked,if you aint seen them before (like me) and you like early sabbath you are in for a treat.

The sound was excellent (thanks John) Tony (Russ) IOU,was amazing,mind you the rest of the band was, not wishing to single out anyone cause I only know Russ,but the singer (wikked Ozzy clone),the bass player and drummer know their stuff, it was like being at a sabbs concert just shut your eyes and listen.

If you dont go to any gigs for the rest of the year catch these guys they will rock your socks off .

Metal Mickey-DJ at Mansfield Intake club.



What to do on a Sunday evening? Yea, I know, it's Sunday evening, tomorrow there's
work etc., but this is now, so how about some classic Sabbath? Sound good? How
about a free gig and a babe behind the bar that's so *hot* it's almost illegal...
surely it's worth a visit? Well Neil and I thought so, read on...

At 9.30pm we made our way downstairs to take our places for the gig and
we had no problem securing a couple of places with excellent

Around 9:50pm the screen went up and Sack Sabbath opened with 'Children of the Grave' quickly followed by 'Iron Man'.

This opener established the following:
These guys were pretty damn good;

The mix was just right;

The front man really did look and sound rather like Ozzy from 25 years ago.

It augured well for a great evening and we weren't disappointed.

Sack Sabbath are a 4 man line-up replicating the Original Black Sabbath and claim
to be the best Sabbath tribute out there. Well I've only seen one so can't comment,
but these guys did deliver 90 minutes of classic Black Sabbath. The lead had some
of Ozzy's colourful (read swearing) banter and wit about him, as seen in quips like
"Welcome to Fuckin' Sack Sabbath - on the Sabbath" and "On bass we have Geezer, I
can't believe it's not Butler". Well I laughed. And when we weren't laughing we
were enjoying classic Sabbath as it should be played; live and loud. All of the
classics were there: War Pigs, Black Sabbath (suitably eerie), Snowblind, Fairies
wear Boots, Hand of Doom (that's the most cheerful song we play), Electric Funeral.
The set finished with a brilliant rendition of Symptom of the Universe, by which
time the volume was certainly at 11. Seconds later the band were back to encore
with Paranoid and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. One final funny note, as they walked back
for the encore Ozzy asked if there were any requests, one of the audience shouted
'Heaven and Hell' to which Ozzy quipped "we do classic Sabbath from 1970 to 75...
Heaven and Hell doesn't fuckin exist, man!" He then did a very funny piss-take of a
certain Sabbath front man who is allegedly a little... short.

All in all then, a stonking set of classic songs that will certainly have me
rummaging around my CD collection now I've been reminded of how great these guys
were when they had it together. And if you've got a few gaps in your collection you
may want to check out the Remastered Box set of classic era Sabbath. I am.

Eddie Doyle.


I love travelling over to the Robin2 in Bilston, as venues go it's one of my favourites. Tonight it's two of the best tribute acts around that grace the stage, Sack Sabbath and Fred Zeppelin. These two bands have played here together before so the crowd arrive in droves and I'm guessing about 200 punters are in attendance on what is an uncomfortably warm and humid evening.

First on stage is Sack Sabbath a band you could say I'm familiar with. Formed four and a half years ago and with many line-up changes along the way the "Ozzy" fronted Sabbath clones play only the early material from 1970-77. With every song in tonight's hour long set a "classic" the audience, who by and large are here to see the headliners, are won over by great numbers like war pigs, hand of doom and symptom of the universe. With top notch performances from front man Ozzy Oddbin, who whips up the crowd with screams of "lets go fuckin' crazy, lead guitarist Mr Tony IOU who manages to keep sane during Ozzy's antics and Mr Bill Lard at the back on drums with new boy Geezer (I can't believe it's not) Butler on Bass giving the rhythm section plenty of oomph. The final song of Sack Sabbath's set approaches in the guise of Sabbath bloody Sabbath, how they got away without playing paranoid is anyone's guess. (NOTE-We were all set to play it but we ran out of time! Gutted!-Sacko)

Both of these bands are well worth checking out if you've somehow managed to miss them so far and when they team up like tonight then you really are in for a treat…


Well, what can I say! Absolutely brilliant!!! "Fairies Wear Boots" was superb, as were all the other classic Sabbath tracks you performed! Well impressed! I hope to catch you again!
Anyone reading this, who's a Sabbath fan, you have got to get along to a gig by Sack Sabbath, they are Sabbath perfectionists!!