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.