Bit of an enigma is the old Evil Elvis. The music media love to abuse him as a joke, a has been, a punch bag and a cat loving brick obsessive. What this fails to recognise of course is the actually huge body of excellent work he had notched up over the last 25 year’s from Misfits through Samhain to Danzig and the genuine affection people have for this stuff.
I was keen to see this set, with the added bonus of a Misfits set complete with Doyle (even though my Misfits experience is limited to Earth A.D.) but was also wary of reports of iffy shows in the recent past.
Weirdly on arrival we found the gig to be in the Wulfrun Hall, despite being advertised as the Civic (same building) and you can’t help but wonder if ticket sales were disappointing and caused a last minute switch. It would explain another factor on the night too. But, still, it would have been a little empty in the Civic, but nicely busy in Wulfrun so from that point of view no foul.
Missed the support (Black Spiders, so no loss to me) and then waited. And waited. And swapped pictures of internet cats. And waited.
Yes, it did get us wondering if tantrums were happening. See? I’m as guilty as anyone about the man. When the band finally did hit the stage to huge cheers, two things were apparent. Firstly the band was really up for it; bright eyed eagerness blazing and the man himself on cracking vocal form and throwing those classic Danzig shapes like he was 20 again. The second thing is the sound was beyond shit. The opening songs Skin Carver and Hammer Of The Gods were rendered virtually unrecognizable; when the guitar went into lead breaks the mid section of the sound just dropped into nothing with no bass, the vocals were lost in distortion half the time and it was generally a fucking mess. “They sound like a pub band…” muttered a mate. Seemingly through sheer force of will, and a crowd happy to fill that gap, things recovered a little for Twist Of Cain and Am I Demon and Glenn himself was clearly enjoying the reaction. Posing and staring as only he can, he was a genuinely energetic and charismatic presence and absolutely no fault attached to him or the other men-in-black.
We were treated to stone cold classic Danzig numbers: Her Black Wings, with the crowd singing as one brought a few goose-bumps and even with the sound still bad (the between song talk was just as bad I have not a clue what Danzig said), Tired Of Being Alive, Blood And Tears, Dirty Black Summer and the glorious rendition of How The Gods Kill went down a storm.
Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
Doyle, with full on devillock and makeup, entered. The crowd greeted him to one of the finest cheers I’ve heard in an age and they just tore through Death Comes Ripping. He really is quite the sight: A giant amongst the rest, Frankenstein’s monster built from pure hard muscle and attitude beating his instrument into submission and… suddenly the sound was there too. Even if it hadn’t been no one would have cared. We were all transported to simpler times, teenagers with too much energy and too many b-movies and fuck reality this is a party. A superb version of Vampira followed as quickly; Bullet, Skulls, I Turned Into A Martian and Last Caress rounding out a superb set. And then Doyle left without a word, job truly done.
Fun doesn’t even begin to come close. Those who had only come for the Misfits set had just hit solid bubblegum horror punk gold. Those of us who had come mostly for the Danzig stuff had just had the cherry bomb on top of the cake explode in the finest manner possible.
Robbed of Doyle’s sound the problems returned for the Danzig material but Not Of This World and the classic Mother rocked like hell anyway and the crowd carried everything. Affection like that for both sets is a rare and joyous thing to be part of at my age…
An encore including the return of Doyle for Astro Zombies and, shock horror, Danzig being seen to grin like a man enjoying himself, sent us on our way pretty happy.
With a little confusion admittedly.
Why did the stage crew come on and check the sound after the fucking gig? Were they as pissed off about the sound as we were? The consensus of our speculation was they switched halls at the eleventh hour and didn’t have time to get the sound, particularly the bass and vocal mikes set up properly. Who knows isn’t saying.
Whatever, in the end it was a fine gig and certainly not short change despite the sound. Danzig is on excellent vocal form, looks in good health and the band are excellent. Doyle though frankly walked off with the show so the Misfits fans probably got the best part of the deal on balance. They had a fucking ball.