Photos and review by: Jason Robey
Phoenix, AZ — The Rebel Lounge sounds like the perfect meeting place for fans of the Galactic Empire, and the sold-out Phoenix crowd agrees. The group, which dresses in Star-Wars-themed costumes, while playing heavy metal versions of theme songs from the saga, made a stop in the valley on Wednesday night, as part of their “I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This” tour.
The evening started with a 45-minute set by the Phoenix group, The Minibosses, playing amped up takes on classic Nintendo themes. The six-piece, including two kids, wowed the audience with their versions of “Metroid,” “Castlevania,” “Mega Man 2,” and a handful of others.
After a short break, The Galactic Empire took the stage to the sounds of “The Main Theme,” and the largely-Star-Wars-shirt-wearing audience went wild. The stage set was made to look like the Throne Room scene at the end of Return of the Jedi, complete with lights and smoke. Guitarist, Dark Vader, led the band through a solid hour of themes from their debut, self-titled album. Between songs, Vader took several chances to talk to the crowd, through voice-changing effects to sound like the Sith Lord everyone knows. He announced that this would probably be “the weirdest show” anyone in the crowd has ever seen.
Guitarists, Red Guard and Kyle Ren, played virtuosic melodies through “Duel of the Fates,” “The Force Theme,” and “Cantina Band.” Drummer, Boba Sett, bassist, Bass Commander, laid down a tight rhythm bed for “The Imperial Theme,” for which the band made a video that went viral on social media last year. They ended their set with an epic run-through of “The Throne Room,” and left the crowd screaming for more.
Once Galactic Empire was off the stage, crew members hung a large, bright red and yellow sheet in front of the stage, to set it up for the evening’s headliner, Mac Sabbath. As the opening notes of “Black Sandwich” began, the sheet came down and the audience went into a frenzy for the McDonald’s vs. Black Sabbath themed group. Dressed as sinister versions of characters from McDonald’s playland, the four-piece metal group injected fast food related lyrics into covers of Black Sabbath songs. Songs like “More Ribs,” a take-off of the Black Sabbath classic, “War Pigs,” and “Pair-a-Buns,” playing off the title of “Paranoid,” were crowd favorites.
Vocalist Ronald Osborne led the band in a pun-filled evening, complete with props (a large grill at the front of the stage with a smoke machine and lights in it, water bottles that looked like mustard and ketchup bottles, and, to top it all off, a fake bat, which he placed in a hamburger bun before biting its head off, in tribute to a well-known incident involving Ozzy Osbourne and a real bat, in the 1980s).
Catch Galactic Empire and Mac Sabbath on the “I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This” tour through mid-march.