While on the surface the Ned Flanders based metalcore band Okilly Dokilly may seem like a novelty act, born to ride the coattails of one the most popular TV shows ever created, I can tell you after experiencing their live performance at the Buzzbin in Canton, Ohio on Tuesday night, these guys are the real deal and kick major ass.  While certainly toying with the Ned Flanders persona – Okilly Dokilly is a full-fledged, head banging, howdidly doodidly good time.

Before we break down the full Okilly Dokilly set – we’ve got to talk a bit about the other three bands on the slate.  This was a four band ticket and coming up first was Stillborn Prodigy.  I have to admit, I missed these guys, getting to the show a little late but literally as I was walking in the door the band was finishing up their set and I witnessed heads banging and giant metal head smiles so I’m going to say their short set was well received and hopefully I’ll catch up with this band at another show soon. 

The Youngstown, Ohio-based Knife Fighters were next up and their guttural, ear piercing thrash was brutal and melodic.  These guys play a ton in and around the Northeast Ohio area and they deserve your time.  The audience grew larger as the Knife Fighters set got ramped up.  This is a band that doesn’t just ask for your attention – they reach down your throat and rip the attention from you as it is rightfully theirs and you will succumb to the sweet, sweet pain.  Watch for their name on show announcements and then go see them and see if you don’t agree with me.

After an amazingly quick set change the Metallica / Beatles mash-up wonders Beatallica hit the stage like a force of nature and their amazing musicianship and sense of humor was evident from the very first chord.  With songs like “Hero Of The Day Tripper” and “The Thing That Should Not Let It Be,” it doesn’t take long to catch onto the inside joke but the thing is, these guys are no joke.  Incredibly talented metal musicians and every bit as good as Weird Al at writing the parody lyrics, I have to admit to you, this set that was performed at the Buzzbin is one of my favorite concert moments of the year to date.  Keep an eye on these guys and the next time they are within driving distance, make the drive.

Of course, all of this was leading up to the feature event – Springfield come to life – Okilly Dokilly.  This set change was a bit longer in the works and the full band was involved with the setting of the stage – the crowd grew to enormous proportions and the energy level jumped another 15 notches, this crowd was here to party and Okilly Dokilly was more than happy to oblige.  Even the band setting up and tuning their instruments turned into a mini performance piece and once the levels were all set the band members all disappeared into the changing rooms only to return as the heroes of the left handed world, ready to slay the crowd with their extreme Nedal insanity.  The crowd erupted with a full-fledged mosh pit breaking out by the second song with the band playing so hard the bass playing Ned broke a string on his bass.  Some mid-set panic ensued when the beer cans started getting tossed towards the stage and some of the equipment came in danger of getting shorted out but – they handled all the craziness just as Mr. Flanders himself would – with a smile on their face and love in their heart.

A great show full of laughs and exeptional metal music.  If any of these bands pull into a venue near you, you need to stop what you’re doing and let their music pummel you into submission.