The Misfits at Culture Room, December 3

The Misfits
With Juicehead
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, December 3, 2010

For nearly a decade, Misfits shows have been occasions of fans coming together and helping Jerry Only, the only remaining original member, sing through short sets of beloved tunes. And he's needed all the help he can get.

There was a reason that Michale Graves was brought in when the Misfits re-formed in the '90s without Glenn Danzig -- the Misfits need a good singer, and Jerry Only is not one. Friday night's show at the Culture Room was the same old sing-along party that fans have come out for since Graves left the band years ago. It was fun as always, but whatever merit there once may have been to Only taking the reigns and carrying on the Misfits legacy is fading fast.

In addition to Only, the band consists of Dez, who is formerly of Black Flag, and Robo, also of Black Flag as well as the Misfits. They played well enough to host the party. The crowd was rowdy, in costume, and in the spirit. So with all of those elements combined, it was a good old Fiend Club meeting. The show began with the theme music from Halloween creeping into the room, leading up to the dropping of a curtain, which revealed a huge drum kit and lots of spooky stage props. The band opened its set with "Halloween" and proceeded to blast through a bunch of old-school tunes including "Skulls," "Astrozombies," and "Hybrid Moments," which was played in celebration of this being the band's tenth year playing the Culture Room.

The show also featured a couple of new songs from a forthcoming Misfits album due out in 2011, a few Black Flag songs, including "Six Pack" and "Rise Above" scattered throughout, and a handful of Graves-era Misfits tunes such as "Dig Up Her Bones" and "Saturday Night." The one obvious tune left out was "Last Caress." After closing the show with "Die, Die My Darling," Jerry Only posed for a few minutes while what sounded like the theme to Superman played; then he pulled a Sharpie out of his tights and began signing autographs.

From the fans' perspective, there seems to be no excuse at this point for the Misfits to be a sloppy punk band with no singer. It seems like he should be able to afford to hire someone with the money he makes from selling Misfits air-fresheners, shoelaces, dental floss, and glow-in-the-dark boxer shorts at the merch table and Hot Topic. And even if he can't afford to pay someone, it would be a safe bet to assume that there are plenty of fans who can sing better than Only who would gladly do it for free. There were plenty of them singing their hearts out at the show while he was doing injustice to songs he did not write. Fans are not privy to all the behind-the-scenes stuff, but based on what we've heard from Graves and former guitarist (and Only's brother) Doyle, it just seems that Jerry Only is mishandling the situation and that there could be a really good touring Misfits if he'd make some wise moves.

Critics Notebook

Not better than: Seeing Danzig and Doyle share a stage in recent years.

The crowd: Is what it was all about.

Random detail: After the last tune, during the pose-off, Jerry Only hit me with his sweat rag. Surprisingly, the sweat droplets did not have Misfit logos on them.

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Travis Newbill