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Friday, 11 December 2015 |
When the Misfits toured Australia in 1997 in support of their American Psycho album, it seemed as though, if my memory serves me correctly, everyone walked away with nothing but praise. It was incredible. You had Jerry Only on bass, his brother Doyle on guitar, Dr Chud on drums and the vocals of Michale Graves smashing through an incredible set of Misfits classics and up until that moment, that’s exactly what they had put out; classics! The receptive crowd cheered with every song, they slammed, they moshed, and they were in complete awe of seeing a punk rock show by one of the genres finest. Fast forward eight years and we find ourselves at the same venue (albeit name changed), a completely different band line-up (bar one), and a catalogue of songs that spans decades.
For years people have been wishing for original vocalist Glenn Danzig to reunite with Jerry Only (the only original member left in the band and who now handles the lead vocal duties) to fulfil the dreams of all those who never got to see the band in their golden era. Only is now playing alongside his son, Jerry Caiafa II, on guitar and Eric “Chupacabra” Arce on drums. They returned to Melbourne to play both their Static Age and Earth AD records in full, but they didn’t stop there. Tonight was going to be epic in the way of songs with the band being rumoured to play around 40 songs in total. What? Really? How very Ramones of them and you have to hand it to the trio, they were giving you your money’s worth.
Going into this show I had mixed feelings. Would it compare to the awesome show the band put on in 1997? Would it be as abrasive and intense as their early 80s thrash attack? Well firstly, when a band is scheduled to go on at 11:30pm, they should probably go on at 11:30pm. Upon arriving at the venue just after 11pm, I find that not only has their set time been moved from 11:30pm to 11pm as noted on the time sheets outside the venue, but the band is already on stage and had already been on stage for around half an hour going on stage around 10:30pm. Lesson learned, and I take full responsibility here as I was out seeing another show before this one, get there early! Don’t be “get there for the headliners only” guy cos bands pull swifties like this and you miss a good part of the set.
Heading in, I was greeted with a wall of noise. It took me a few moments to work out what song they were playing as the mix just wasn’t that great but there they were; The Misfits. I had completely missed the whole Static Age album and arrived to hear such classic Misfits tunes as Skulls, Who Killed Marilyn, Where Eagles Dare, and Astrozombies. My first thoughts were disappointment. This wasn’t the Misfits as I remember them in 1997. Jerry Only’s version of the Misfits sounds like Ian Astbury fronting a Misfits cover band. While I love the songs, I just wasn’t really getting it. That’s not to say it was bad, it just wasn’t connecting with me. I found it hard to disconnect the memory of seeing them play such an amazing show in 1997 to seeing this show now. The diehard fans down the front didn’t care though and they appeared to have loved it and I will admit that when they played the Earth AD tracks, I found myself enjoying it a lot more. Queen Wasp, Green Hell, Death Comes Ripping, etc. when it comes to the really fast paced screaming punk of the Misfits, this is when Only is at his best. When he’s singing ballad-esque tunes like Saturday Night, it just doesn’t have the same oomph that Graves dished out. When the band finished with the classic Halloween, I could tell they were exhausted having played so many songs. They really gave the punters their money’s worth and you have to applaud them for that.
Jerry Jr is a great guitarist even though he lacks the threatening presence and look of the giant that is Doyle. It doesn’t matter though, the Misfits will probably be around for another 20 off years in some shape or form. As long as Only can still play, the Misfits will be a part of our punk rock lives and long may they reign, regardless of what I think. Those classic Danzig-era albums and the Graves sung American Psycho will forever be the Misfits I love and will fondly remember.
Misfits photo gallery by Rag & Bone Photography:
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