Ringin’ In The Holidays with The Misfits
I hear ringin’ and I don’t think it’s an angel getting its wings. No, I am pretty sure this particular ringing in my ears is the aftermath of an evening spent with horror-punk progenitors the Misfits. I had my misgivings about attending this show – 11/28 at Houston’s House of Blues – because the Misfits have only one original member from the band’s heyday in the 1980s.
Bassist Jerry Only is that original member, and I wasn’t quite sure how these boys would sound without the guidance of one Glenn Danzig, the mastermind behind the original Misfits. But not to worry – only a punk purist would quibble with the current Misfits lineup, which rocked through its catalog with a vengeance. And did I say they were loud? Maybe I did, but I just didn’t hear myself say it. Yeah, they were loud and that stoked the crowd into a frenzy; even the mosh pit on the House of Blues’ concrete floor looked a little more, ah, energetic than usual.
Opening with the ominous plink of “Halloween,” leading into “Earth A.D.,” the Misfits have a rockin’ show that fits the small confines of a place like House of Blues. Their trademark skull face is everywhere on stage and on t-shirts in the audience: I tried to count the number of different items you could buy with the band’s iconic image and/or logo but lost count at about 25. On record, the Misfits combine punk frenzy with the melodic high drama of 1950s music but live, they turn the amps up to 11 and let it rock. Ripping through titles like “Crawling Eye,” “Dig Up Her Bones” and “Die, Die, My Darling” these boys never take the mayhem too seriously, and they even slowed it down with “Saturday Night,” with vocalist Jerry Only hitting some pretty decent notes. I also liked “Descending Angel,” which Only dedicated to a little girl who was murdered; “May one day God avenge her killing,” he said.
In addition to Only, the band is made up of drummer Robo and guitarist Dez Cadena, who were both in the seminal American punk group Black Flag. They played a handful of Black Flag songs with Cadena on vocals, but the only one I can remember the title of is “Rise Above.” The Misfits also did their two newest songs, which were both great: “Land Of The Dead” and “Twilight Of The Dead.”
And the Misfits got extra points in my book for the end of the show: after the obligatory encore, Only walked to the lip of the stage and tossed some of his wristbands and stuff into the audience, then he immediately jumped down into the pit and started meeting fans. Even as the crew efficiently broke down the elaborate stage set behind him, Only patiently moved from fan to fan, signing autographs and posing for photos while still in full stage makeup and gear. My son was excited to get his ticket autographed and a photo with Only. That’s workin’ for the fans, everybody.
YouTube: “Halloween/Earth A.D.” from earlier this year in Europe
YouTube: “Dig Up Her Bones” music video