Danzig at Myth, 8/17/13
Danzig -- The 25th Anniversary Tour
with Doyle, Scar the Martyr, Huntress, and In Defence
Myth Live Event Center, Maplewood
August 17, 2013
Time has a way of incessantly aging both man and music. And some of Danzig's songs, much like the singer himself, have grown a bit soft in the middle over the years. Thankfully, much of the weaker material that plagues Danzig's back catalog was wisely done away with during their potent 70-minute set at Myth on Saturday night.
Glenn Danzig and his band focused mainly on their ghoulish punk hits in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut album, but a blistering six-song run of Misfits tunes led by towering guest guitarist Doyle von Frankenstein made the performance momentous.
Danzig certainly kept the crowd waiting for action, as a full 50 minutes passed between the end of the final opener's set and the start of the show. With the club little more than half-full, the band had a tough time lighting the fuse at first, as drummer Johnny Kelly, bassist Steve Zing, and guitarist Tommy Victor slowly took to the stage to the sounds of "Overture of the Rebel Angels," before eventually being joined by Danzig himself as the show lurched to a start.
The set began with two recent but rather tepid songs from the band, "SkinCarver" and "Hammer of the Gods," with much time spent trying to rouse the audience, who slowly filled the main floor while Danzig's voice searched for some sonorous strength. "Thank you, motherfuckers," Glenn announced assertively after the applause died down, "We're just going to do our old shit from now on. This is called 'Twist of Cain.'" The horror-punk classic, which potently kicked off Danzig's first album, also managed to ignite the performance itself, with both the band and the crowd fully getting into it at that point.
A feisty "Am I Demon" kept the focus squarely on Danzig's sinister debut album, and the one-two punch of "Her Black Wings" and "Devil's Plaything" had the devil horns of the crowd raised in support of those hymns of dark destruction. "All right, we're going to do a song that we've just started playing again on this tour," Danzig explained. "We haven't played it since the '90s. You can just chill for this one." A sleepy, far too tranquil version of "Blood and Tears" really slowed things down unnecessarily (perhaps letting Danzig and his aging bandmates catch their collective breath a bit). But a tempestuous "Dirty Black Summer" got things recharged in a hurry, and the set forged on fitfully.
"So, this 25th anniversary is pretty scary," Danzig then admitted, rather venomously. "But this is kind of a big fuck you to the record industry. I'm still fucking here, you bastards! And you can't get rid of me." And with that, he brought out his old Misfits bandmate, Doyle, who was clad in white face-paint and massive boots, looking exactly like he did back in the band's heyday in the early '80s. Doyle absolutely towered over everyone on stage, especially Glenn himself, and thrashed about with his custom-made Annihilator guitar during a ferocious version of the Misfits' thrash classic "Death Comes Ripping," to the point that he damaged the instrument.
"Doyle broke his guitar," Danzig announced during a brief pause between songs. "See, he's a big motherfucker, shit just breaks when he touches it." When they got Doyle's guitar issue sorted out, Danzig announced the next song, "This is about the original horror chick. It's called 'Vampira.'" It was amazing how quickly these grisly, nightmarish punk songs brought me back to mowing lawns with my headphones on. These turbulent tracks have definite staying power in the punk canon, and the wild crowd, who had formed a massive circle pit on the main floor, truly relished being able to hear them played live again after all these years.
Danzig brought out Jill Janus, from opening band Huntress, to sing with him on a slow-burning version of "Skulls," which built to a frenetic, volatile end. "Want to hear another from Walk Among Us?" Hell yeah we do, Glenn. "Yes or no? I don't fucking care one way or the other." The screams of support only got louder, so Danzig led the band through a storming version of "I Turned Into a Martian," which had the whole club singing along on the chorus, while Doyle thrashed about fervently on stage, adding his scorching guitar work to the untamed din.
"Astro Zombies" kept the glorious Misfits hits coming, with the catchy power-pop of the anthemic number lingering just below the aggressive punk arrangement that fiercely pushed the song forward. "You're not getting fucking tired, are you?" Danzig teased as the band took a brief break between songs. "We still got shit to do." And indeed, the intense version of "Last Caress" that followed proved to be one of the clear standout of the set, and really set the place off. Doyle stomped about monstrously in time with the song's charging pace, and Glenn's voice -- which got progressively better as the set wore on -- absolutely soared.
Doyle left the stage to a well-earned ovation as the band tore into "Soul on Fire," which kept the momentum of the set at its peak. "Mother" then closed out the main set in style, with the crowd helping Danzig sing his familiar verses in a unifying moment that made it seem like we all hadn't heard this song too many times before. The devil horns were prominently in the air as the band headed off stage, with Glenn thanking us warmly and adding, "You take care of yourselves. Stay strong."
After a brief break, the band returned, with Danzig asking us, "What do you want to hear?" as requests came at him from all angles. After taking a brief poll asking us what album we wanted him to choose a track from, Danzig III surprisingly won out, and the band launched the encore with a boisterous version of "Do You Wear the Mark." "Doyle, get your ass back out here," Danzig then commanded, as the mountainous guitarist rejoined the band.
"In this weird fucking Misfits world that I created, this is considered a love song," Danzig explained, before he and the band brought the show to an explosive end with a feral version of "Die, Die My Darling." Danzig and Misfits fans have all grown old right along with the band as time has taken its toll on all of us, but on Saturday night their timeless, wicked punk songs made us all feel young again, if only for a fleeting moment.
Personal Bias: I still remember exactly where I was the moment I heard Walk Among Us and Danzig for the first time--that's how much of an impact those albums had on me as a young music fan.
The Crowd: Full of longtime Danzig fans who wore various old T-shirts to prove it. It was cool to see all of the twisted designs from over the years.
Overheard in the Crowd: "This song has always made me so hot!"
Random Notebook Dump: While I only caught the last few songs of Huntress's set, the final opener, Scar the Martyr (lead by Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison and keyboardist Chris Vrenna, former drummer in Nine Inch Nails) were legitimately one of the worst opening acts I've ever seen. I was even in the mood for metal, and their bland, muddy sound was excruciatingly dull and uninspired, and couldn't end soon enough.
--Overture of the Rebel Angels--
Hammer of the Gods
Twist of Cain
Am I Demon
Her Black Wings
Blood and Tears
Dirty Black Summer
Death Comes Ripping (Misfits--with Doyle)
Vampira (Misfits--with Doyle)
Skulls (Misfits--with Doyle and Jill Janus on vocals)
I Turned Into a Martian (Misfits--with Doyle)
Astro Zombies (Misfits--with Doyle)
Last Caress (Misfits--with Doyle)
Soul on Fire
Do You Wear the Mark (Encore)
Die, Die My Darling (Encore) (Misfits--with Doyle)
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