Oh, Glenn. We’ve longed for you to come over here and do a combined Danzig/Misfits set in London for years. You burned us so badly with your awful sound and onstage petulance at Download Festival 2011, but we’re willing to give you one last chance. Hugh Platt went to Camden with all his fingers crossed for this one.
6 things we learned watching Danzig in London…
1) It’s no secret that Glenn Danzig has burned us before. The former Misfits frontman has a long reputation when it comes to bad sound, bad behaviour, and all-round surliness. Hell, on at least one occasion over in the USA, he’s been billed as doing a Misfits set before the gig, and then done next to nothing from his former band’s roster when he was on stage. Suffice to say, we’re nervous about tonight’s sold-out Roundhouse show in a way we’re not normally about musicians operating at this level.
2) First point of business though is Black Spiders. In what must be one of the thankless support slots in rock, the five-piece do an admirable job providing the backing music to the Danzig/Misfits crowd’s pre-Danzig/Misfit drinking, but if ever there was a show which was all about the main event, it’s tonight. Rollicking rock’n’roll they may be, but tonight Black Spiders are a perfunctory footnote to what’s to come later.
3) When Glenn Danzig. Wisely sticking to the early Danzig materials – a mere two songs from the Danzig portion of tonight’s set come from after the first three Danzig LPs – the setlist is remarkably free of artistic ego and instead packed with the kind of songs that Danzig’s fans really want to hear. After so many stories of egomania gone wild at Danzig shows, to get the likes of ‘Twist of Cain’ and ‘Am I Demon’ back-to-back in the first 20 minutes of the show went beyond our expectations. Yes, this show was also billed as marking the anniversary of Danzig’s self-titled debut solo record, but our expectations for tonight were so low following so many years of disappointments, that the high this set brings is even sweeter for how unexpectedly superb it is.
Watch a fan-shot bootleg of some of Danzig & Doyle’s secret show at the Highbury Garage last week:
4) What’s undeniable though is the change that goes through the room when Danzig brings out Doyle, Wolfgang von Frankenstein arguably the Misfits most iconic guitarist, to power through a brace of Misfits tracks. Beefed up like a monstrous action figure, Doyle looks doubly terrifying next to the diminutive Danzig, but the pairing brings an electrifying excitement to the Roundhouse that we haven’t experienced the likes of in years. Stomping round the stage like the Frankenstein creation he cribbed half his stage name from, punching his guitar to produce those signature stabs of punk riff, Doyle elevates this evening’s renditions of ‘Vampira’, ‘I Turned Into A Martian’, ‘Astro Zombies’ and – my god – ‘Last Caress’, from mere Misfits karaoke to one of the most rapturously-received live spectacles we’ve seen in years.
5) After seeing tonight’s show, we’ve got nothing but boiling, seething envy for everyone who saw the Danzig & Doyle secret show at the Highbury Garage last week. The Roundhouse is a spectacular venue to showcase this in, but getting to see this in a venue that’s about an eighth of the size (if you go by the venues respective “official” capacities) was, according to everyone we spoke to who attended, something else entirely.
6) Oh Glenn. How could we ever have doubted you? Ending tonight’s first encore with ‘Mother’ is one thing, but bringing Doyle back on to close with ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Die, Die My Darling’? As much of a Danzig fan I may be, tonight belonged to the Misfits – not the “official” Misfits that creaks around the world paying Jerry Only’s mortgage, but the Misfits that got thousands of grown men and women to roar their lungs hoarse on a Monday night in Camden Town.