Danzig at the Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney Australia
Band Photo: Danzig (?)
Let me tell you a story. I have a friend - let's call him "Ben" - who had the opportunity to see Danzig live in Hamburg back in '92 or so. Due to an unfortunate fabric rip, Ben was witness to a view throughout the show of the contents of the great man's leather trousers. As an impressionable 16 year old, the damage to poor Ben's psyche was deep: to this day, he cannot listen to, read about or discuss the legendary Glenn Danzig without that particular image surfacing, unbidden, in his mind. He's a little bitter about it.
I am pleased to report to both readers of this site and to Ben that no wardrobe malfunctions tarnished Danzig's Sunday night performance at the Big Top in Luna Park, Sydney, although there were a couple of technical glitches with the microphones and other sound equipment. The three date tour was the legendary singer's first Australian shows in 13 years, and will probably be the last - it has been widely reported that Danzig does not intend to keep a regular touring schedule in the future, choosing instead to focus on his film and comic book projects.
Melbourne hardcore band Five Star Prison Cell started the evening off, playing a bit of a schizophrenic set - spots of solid heavy groove were interspersed with "what the hell are they doing now?" moments. When (and if) they get their material sorted out, they may be one to watch in future. A note to frontman Adam Glynn: if you're going to promote yourself, don't pretend to be embarrassed by it: apologizing for mentioning your MySpace page is almost as bad as having one in the first place.
Blood Duster, up next, are quite well known in the Australian grindcore scene. Their sound is extreme but at the same time very professional - the band is a really tight unit and they play like they mean it, which is not surprising considering that they've been at it for more than a decade. However, their pre-pubescent lyrical content and the onstage personas are not my cup of tea, and while they had a few fans in the crowd showing their appreciation by creating a 5-man circle pit, it was obvious that most of the crowd were waiting patiently for the main event.
20 minutes of sound checks later, that moment arrived: the band came onstage, followed by Danzig himself, launching into Skincarver from 'Circle of Snakes'. Right from the start there were problems with the mix - Glenn threw some looks and gestures to the techs offstage that would have curdled milk. Satan's Child and I, Luciferi, from albums 6 and 7 respectively, followed, with some improvement in sound although the entangled microphone cords seemed to be a constant irritation to the band.
After announcing that this would most likely be Danzig's last trip to Australia, it was straight into Left Hand Black from III, with a chorus from Do You Wear The Mark thrown in for good measure, followed by old favorite Under Her Black Wings from II. Then some newer material - 1000 Devils Reign and Circle of Snakes from 8, then III's How the Gods Kill, which built the crowd into a frenzy, showed just how good "that voice" really is, and was easily the highlight of the show so far.
Changing tacks, Danzig invited Misfits' guitarist Doyle von Frankenstein into the stage. Stomping around hammering on his guitar like the comic book hero he is, Doyle completely changed the character of the show - even Danzig started laughing and chatting to the crowd. They ripped through some Misfits classics, with Danzig showing the intensity and energy that made him a legend and the crowd responding appropriately. A truer Misfits reunion of Danzig, Doyle and Jerry Only would indeed be an awesome thing to see.
After announcing that Doyle now had to go back to his coffin "to recharge", Glenn launched into Bringer of Death from IV, followed by some older tracks including Twist of Cain and with an intense rendition of Mother signalling the "end" of the show. After an appropriate amount of chanting and clapping, Danzig returned for an encore, performing Snakes of Christ from II. Finally, Doyle was summoned back for an energetic version of Die Die My Darling, giving the punters their final chance to mosh to Danzig-inspired mayhem.
He may not be 30 or even 40 anymore, but a Glenn Danzig stage experience is definitely an experience no fan should miss seeing at least once.
Kay Smoljak is an Aussie photographer, geek, metalhead and goat aficioado who is currently hiding out in Berlin. She blogs sometimes at enter the goatlady.
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