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Danzig, Prong, Superjoint All Put In Stellar Performances

Photo of Danzig

Band Photo: Danzig (?)

Glenn Danzig started his Blackest of the Black tour over a decade ago in 2003. I caught it first in 2005 when he toured with Mortiis, Behemoth (among others) and what I believe was the first appearance of Doyle performing Misfits songs with Danzig. While this year’s lineup isn’t the “blackest,” that distinction goes to the last Blackest of the Black tour in 2010 when he took out Marduk and Possessed, Superjoint and Prong were solid acts nonetheless at this showing at Stubb’s in Austin.

Although they don’t carry the name recognition of a Phil Anselmo or Tommy Victor, openers Witch Mountain put on an impressive performance. The Portland-based doom act were in the news a year ago when longtime singer Uta Plotkin left the group and they hired 19-year-old Kayla Dixon as replacement. Dixon’s performance certainly showed she was up for the task this night. Her range was excellent. Whether she sang in a soaring almost R & B type voice or a death metal growl, her vocals were spot on. The rest of the band’s tones sounded great in their down tempo dirges. Even though there was only about 50 people in the crowd during their set, those in attendance seemed to show their approval. Touring with a big name like Danzig has to be doing wonders for their career.

The crowd seemed to have showed in numbers right when Prong took the stage. Prong are veterans of the scene, starting in 1986 even before the birth of Danzig’s solo act. Considering this and hits like “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck,” one would expect a high billing for the band. Also, one would expect a set longer than 25 minutes, but that is exactly how long the group played. Tommy Victor was in fine form producing grooves that are synonymous with the groove-based bands of the 1990s. His set was long just long enough to hear classics like “Beg to Differ” and “Unconditional,” as well as the new single “Ultimate Authority,” which is a good preview of what is to come with a new album. Of course, a Prong set would not be complete without “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck,” which they played last.

Veil of Maya is a young band in the eyes of the crowd, even though they’ve been around for more than a decade. Their technical brand of deathcore seemed lost on most of the crowd. A few people were up front gesticulating to their music, but the crowd seemed uninterested for the most part. There was definitely a lag in energy from Prong’s set where you could look around and see people actively enjoying their music. The deathcore crowd is still a fairly young crowd and most of the attendees were old school Danzig fans, so it just didn’t work. Kudos to Danzig for bringing something different, something popular in certain circles, but this group would have been better off touring with a more familiar crowd opening for a band like White Chapel.

Lack of interest certainly wasn’t the case with Superjoint. Formerly known as Superjoint Ritual, the band has changed its name due to legal issues, which Phil Anselmo comments on in an upcoming interview I conducted with him before their set. Superjoint was the fastest and heaviest band of the evening. Playing songs from their two albums “Use Once And Destroy” and “A Lethal Dose of American Hatred” like “Fuck Your Enemy” and “Waiting For the Turning Point” the group’s southern grooves and punk beats elicited a modest pit. Austin crowds tend to be laid back, which Anselmo was having nothing of. He kept calling out the crowd to get it pissed saying funny things like “I want to see 67 mosh pits.” There might have been three. Still, the crowd loved it in their own lethargic way.

Glenn Danzig is 60 years old but still performs with the same gusto he had when he started this solo act over twenty-five years ago. Part of this energy comes from his back up band. While Danzig I-IV featured his classic lineup of Eerie Von, Chuck Biscuits and John Christ, the lineup he has now is nearly as solid and with almost a decade playing together its’ the most consistent of his career. Tommy Victor, who pulled double duty with Prong, pulled off magical leads, while Samhain bassist Steve Zing and former Type O Negative skin basher Johnny Kelly produced a super heavy backdrop. Kelly’s hard hitting reminded me of Chuck Biscuits.

Songs like “How The Gods Kill” proved this was a Danzig crowd as one could hear what seemed like the entire crowd crooning “oh.” Being only the second day into the tour, Danzig’s voice was strong especially during his yelling parts, although I thought he held the mic to the crowd just a bit too much. One such moment was during their cover of Black Sabbath’s"N.I.B." He beautifully sang the first part of the chorus, making this song his own, but let the crowd sing the second part. Covers were a big part of his set as he sought to promote his upcoming cover’s album “Skeletons”. In addition to an Elvis song, which he pulled off well, he played covers of old Biker film songs like “Devil’s Angels.”

Danzig played “Mother” and then did an encore with another cover before ending with “Long Way Back From Hell.” His set was heavy with Danzig I material, all the songs you would expect, but the covers showed him playing a different set than the last time I saw him at Housecore Horror Film Festival . Also, the inclusion of “Black Mass” from his 7th album was a nice surprise. That song is so epic. “Until You Call on the Dark” was a nice change from “Bringer of Death,” which he usually plays. He did tease us with another great, seldom heard 4 number “Brand New God” but played an equally killer song “Not of This World” instead. Other than Danzig 5, he made sure to include at least one track from all his nine albums.

The Blackest of the Black tour is still in its beginning stages. Check to see if it is hitting your area:

10/7 Wed - Memphis, TN Minglewood Hall
10/9 Fri - New Orleans, LA Civic Theatre
10/11 Sun - Birmingham, AL Iron City
10/12 Mon - Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
10/14 Wed - Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
10/16 Fri - Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
10/17 Sat - Worcester, MA 'rock & Shock' The Palladium
10/18 Sun - Montreal, QC Metropolis
10/20 Tues - Portland, ME State Theatre
10/21 Wed - Nyc, NY Best Buy Theatre
10/23 Fri - Cleveland, OH Agora Theatre
10/24 Sat - Milwaukee, WI The Rave
10/25 Sun - Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium
10/27 Tues - Boulder, CO Boulder Theatre
10/29 Thur - San Jose, CA City National Civic
10/31 Sat - Halloween Los Angeles, CA Microsoft Theatre

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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