Better than: Anything Jerry Only or John Christ have done in years.
It's nearly impossible to read anything regarding Glenn Danzig these days that isn't either a mockery of the man's entirely polarizing personality or bits of cynical repartee. Truth be told, Danzig welcomes the attention with his complete inability to take anything in stride and has possibly done more to inadvertently mock himself in recent years than any journalistic assault or comic strip could.
However, Danzig is still Danzig: The man was a driving creative force in the Misfits (some would argue the driving creative force) and responsible for a string of albums that are now considered to be masterworks of heavy metal. His musical legacy is thus impervious to any transgressions regarding kitty litter, lawn bricks, or unfortunate backstage incidents.
Last night, Danzig kicked off another leg of the Danzig Legacy 25th Anniversary Tour at Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live. The venue, which always looked to us like Danzig may have designed it himself, was packed with excited fans seeking a moment in time with the man and his now-classic songs.
When we arrived, a band called Butcher Babies was romping about onstage. The group is fronted by a duo of scantily clad women who jumped daintily on and off a platform set on the stage while growling over nü-metal riffs played on an eight-string guitar. Apparently, the women who front Butcher Babies usually perform wearing only electrical tape over their nipples; however, they opted for tattered metal-band T-shirts and fishnets last night instead. Though we can certainly respect the novelty of attractive women fronting any band, the music itself, the stage show, and the general vibe we received was awkward beyond all else. It came off as a feigned and insincere attempt to be subversive.
Following Butcher Babies, the shrouds that kept Danzig's stage set from sight were removed by a team of roadies. The lights went low, and the band appeared sans Danzig to begin the slow churn of "Skincarver." Flanked by a pair of batwinged signature Danzig skulls, the 58-year-old singer ran out to meet a wall of applause from the audience. For us, the set truly began with the crushing opening riff of "Twist of Cain" -- the track that ushered in Danzig's reign as a fully realized solo artist. Danzig strutted about the stage, shot imaginary arrows at the sky and banged his head between parts. This acted as encouragement to the band and a crowd that helped carry the vocals as loud as they could through the vomit-laden streets of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Following the weaker "nü" material of the set's first two songs, "Twist of Cain" truly cut the numbness and made the room come alive.
The first portion of Danzig's set was rounded out by classic headbangers like "Am I Demon," "Her Black Wings," and even an unexpectedly tender moment during "Blood and Tears." "How the Gods Kill" was also a pleasant surprise that made for a dynamic precursor to the entrance of Danzig's "old friend" Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, the musclebound original guitarist of the Misfits. Doyle marched out slowly, donning his full Misfits face paint and sporting the iconic devil lock that hung low over his face.
With Danzig guitarist Tommy Victor (Prong/Ministry) remaining onboard, Doyle and Danzig cracked into a set of Misfits classics that began with "Death Comes Ripping." The pit grew with crowd members from around the hall heeding the call of the song's history and running to take part in the melee. Onstage, there appeared an honest camaraderie between Doyle and Danzig, an honest moment amid the haze of an aging rock star's standoffish behavior. "Skulls" proved to be the triumph of the Misfits-themed portion of the night, bringing every able voice in the audience to a scream and leaving the crowd smiling and sweaty before Doyle gave the crowd one "Last Caress" and stomped back offstage, presumably to consume things slathered in hot sauce and lift dumbbells constructed out of lead-filled skulls.
The night had gone oddly incident-free until the tail end of the set. Danzig has instituted a strict no-filming/photo policy and is delusional enough to think that crowds of metalheads with alcohol and smartphones are going to respect it. People generally did, but not all. As a result, Danzig's head of security spent the night wandering the crowd and thwarting people's attempts at capturing video for their own or YouTube's enjoyment. Finally, right before the last song of the set proper, Danzig made his way to the side of the stage, climbed atop the bar, and stood over of a woman taking video with a fairly large camera she'd been shooting with all night. He called her out for it in front of the crowd. The tension was unnecessary, and while we all know that Danzig might be the most crotchety individual in music, the whole thing felt a bit ridiculous. Danzig played "Mother," and the casual fans had their moment with the singer's most successful track, which still felt fresh and powerful despite the aging voice Danzig now possesses.
The show proved a perfect way to dig into October. Now if only we can get some cold weather too.
Personal bias: Superfan.
Random detail: A dude fell into a wall and fought with the energy of a toppling redwood to snatch a signed drumhead from another crowd member. I could understand that sort of behavior were it a Chuck Biscuits or even a Joey Castillo head, but, seriously?
From the stage: "Aayyyyohhhhhhhh-oh!!" - Glenn Danzig
2. Hammer of the Gods
3. Twist of Cain
4. Am I Demon
5. Her Black Wings
6. Devil's Plaything
7. Blood and Tears
8. Dirty Black Summer
9. How the Gods Kill
* with Doyle
10. Death Comes Ripping *
11. Vampira *
12. I Turned Into a Martian *
13. Skulls *
14. London Dungeon *
15. Astro Zombies *
16. Last Caress *
17. Soul on Fire
Die, Die My Darling *