In one of the most unusual summer-tour pairings in recent memory, the Ozzfest Web site announced Monday night that there will be one final act added to this year’s second-stage lineup: actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s rock group, Wicked Wisdom.
The addition of the Christian-leaning rock-and-soul hybrid to a summer touring package that boasts ferocious metal merchants like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Shadows Fall, Mudvayne, In Flames and the Black Dahlia Murder is unexpected, to say the least.
Wicked Wisdom is an Evanescense-esque act that Pinkett Smith, the band’s frontperson and the wife of actor/rapper Will Smith, has said is influenced by Ani DiFranco, Prince, Tori Amos and Sevendust. The group also includes a guy named Pocket on guitar, another fellow named Rio on bass, keyboardist Cameron Graves and drummer Satnam Ramgotra. This summer’s Ozzfest stint will mark Wicked Wisdom’s first North American tour: The group primarily performs club gigs in and around Los Angeles, although it has opened for Papa Roach and was the support act for Britney Spears’ 2004 European tour.
It remains to be seen just what sort of welcome Ozzfest fans will have for the band. When it was announced that Velvet Revolver would be replacing Iron Maiden on the festival’s final four dates, there was an outpouring of venom on the Ozzfest Web site forums – yet they were tame compared with the messages, in threads bearing titles like “R.I.P. Ozzfest” and “Jada Won’t Last the Whole Tour,” that have greeted Wicked Wisdom’s announcement.
“If they opened for Britney Spears, then they must suck,” read one missive. “Wicked Wisdom will be pelted by every loose object on the Ozzfest grounds,” said another. “This is going to cause a f–ing riot… bring your steel-toed boots,” read a third.
Since Ozzfest’s initial lineup was first announced in March, the festival’s organizers have publicized additions via the tour’s official Web site, providing the news to fans before issuing statements to press outlets. Such was the case when Mudvayne were added to the tour in early April, Velvet Revolver later that month, and Gizmachi two weeks ago.
Ozzfest 2005 kicks off in Mansfield, Massachusetts, on July 15 and wraps September 4 in West Palm Beach, Florida. At presstime, Ozzfest’s organizers could not be reached for comment.