WORDS BY ANDREW RISCH AND PHOTOS BY MAURICE NUNEZ | Go Venue Magazine
The Original Misfits have played a handful of shows in the last three years since the reuniting of Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only. It has been a reunion that many fans never imagined they would see, let alone in huge music arenas and stadiums. Danzig has hinted in recent interviews that there will not be many more reunion shows. A monstrous band like the Misfits are not going to go away quietly into the night as Seattle’s White River Amphitheater filled to the brim with excited and passionate fiends of all ages.
The evening started out hard and heavy with openers the Cro-Mags. Frontman Harley Flanagan was quick to quip to fans, “Don’t Worry about the Merch. Get that stuff later!” while reminding fans to pick up their latest EP, “Don’t Give In.” They played an impressive onslaught of songs such as “World Peace,” and “Steal my Crown.” About half way through their set, Flanagan pointed out the blood on his bass, saying that he bleeds for the fans. The Cro-Mags definitely set the tone for the evening.
Next up were UK punk pioneers, The Damned. Captain Sensible did an impressive job working the crowd between songs as Dave Vanian and crew played a tight and energetic set. For a moment you almost forgot that they were only there to warm up the crowd. One can only imagine how successful the Misfits ill-fated UK tour with the Damned could have been.
The last band between the every growing crowd and The Misfits were The Distillers. They started out their set quickly firing off “Sick of it All” and kept the momentum going with a catalog of heavy hitters including “Beat Your Heart Out,” and “City of Angels.” Front woman Brody Dalle pumped the audience into a further frenzy towards the end of their set by naming a few of her favorite Misfits tunes.
Just the opening bands were enough for an epic evening. Soon after the Distillers left the stage, two large pumpkins dominated each side of the stage. The familiar grin of the Misfits Skull could be seen peeking through the curtains. The fans were getting antsy. The staff and bouncers began to take their places. All Hell was about to break loose.
Opening with “Death Comes Ripping,” The Misfits exploded onto the stage. The after effects of their long awaited arrival could be felt throughout the entire amphitheater. Here were fans that had waited over 30 years to see a show that they thought would never have happened. Several pits broke out and almost everyone singing and “whoa-oh-oh-ing” to each and every song. A large screen behind the stage projected various Misfits imagery from album covers, old photos, movie clips and other moments of the macabre.
Original bassist Jerry Only broke several basses by either smashing them into the ground or just punching right through them. Only was like a child on Christmas Day (Or is that Halloween) as he performed power slides and hammed it up for the crowd. Guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein stomped around the stage like a beast unleashed as he pounded the life out his guitar. Danzig reached out to grab fan’s outstretched hands as he crooned such classics as, “Vampira,” “Children in Heat,” and “Where Eagles Dare.” The band appeared to be having a great time, smiling and high fiving each other as they performed songs about alien invasions and B monster movies.
As their set was drawing to a close the crowd screamed for more, even after hearing over 20 songs. Danzig joked that they would definitely come back for an encore, “If you make enough noise, you know we will come back out!” After a brief break the original horror punk were back at it to put a cap on what was already an incredible evening. Ending with “Die Die My Darling,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Bullet” and “138,” each and every fan from those in front of the stage to those in the back of the lawn were dancing, moshing and singing along to what may be one of the most celebrated bands in the punk and metal movements. It was a special event for many and if this is truly one of their final shows, the Misfits are going out like the musical juggernaut they always were.