Thursday 26th July 2014
The Live Rooms, Chester
Way back in 1988, as a young skateboarding rapscallion, I bought a vinyl copy of The Misfits album “Walk Among Us“. I’d heard Metallica’s cover of “Last Caress” and decided to invest in some tunes by the group. It was a gamble – I had no idea what the rest of their music sounded like. Neither “Last Caress” nor “Green Hell” were featured on that particular platter. Nevertheless, I decided to hand over my saved up dinner money to try it out, after some deliberation.
That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. “Walk Among Us” is, quite simply, one of the best records ever, of any genre. Any initial trepidation I had was annihilated as soon as the furious pace and sing along vocals were heard. My ears were opened. It didn’t hurt that all the songs were about cheesy old B-movies, either.
So imagine my delight when I heard that The Misfits would be playing in Chester, only a few miles from home. One of my favourite bands ever, so close – there was no way this gig was going to be missed. I bought tickets immediately.
OK, so Jerry Only is the only (see what I did there?) original member performing under The Misfits name. No Glenn Danzig, no Doyle. Even though I’m a huge Danzig fan, I wasn’t going to be precious. This was a momentous opportunity.
Besides, there’s Dez Cadena on guitar, who has a fine punk rock pedigree from his time in Black Flag.
So disbelievers be damned, The Misfits gig was on!
I missed the support band though. Sorry.
The Live Rooms was previously a comedy venue, now it’s showing bands. It’s a cool venue and worth keeping an eye on to see who to expect. On this night, the place was absolutely packed out with all manner of black clad loons, anticipating the arrival of the legendary Misfits. I certainly felt excitement in the air. Everyone seemed to be hyped up for this gig, me included. After all, a band like The Misfits playing in these parts is pretty much unheard of.
So the band arrive on stage and are welcomed like all conquering heroes. As I was stood there, I couldn’t really believe I was experiencing this in person. The Misfits – here and now, churning out monster hit after hit. I’m sure others felt the same.
They start with some great tracks from the most recent album, “The Devil’s Rain“. We also get a smattering of songs from the 90’s era of the band, with “Scream!” a real stand out. I dig these Graves era tunes, and most of them hold up really well, even against the old Danzig classics. Only does a fine job of howling out the vocals whilst thundering along on the bass too.
Those old tracks certainly bring a smile though. “She”, “Bullet” and “Where Eagles Dare” practically tear the roof of the place. But when we get to gems from “Walk Among Us“, I’m as happy as Bela Lugosi on 31st October. “Vampira” is probably my favourite Misfits song, so a treat to hear that. We also get “Hatebreeders”, “Astro Zombies”, “20 Eyes” – the list goes on.
In fact it’s amazing how much material the band get through. They play a nearly two hour set, and bombard the audience with song after song. There’s barely a breather between each track. The Misfits play fast and intense. All credit to drummer Eric Arce – the Devil knows how he keeps up the relentless pace. The audience respond with slam dancing/mosh pit craziness like I’ve not witnesses for many a long year. It will be interesting to see whether the management have second thoughts about booking similar bands in future…
Our only down side this evening is the sound, which isn’t the best. From Jerry’s side of the room, where I’m standing, the guitars at the opposite side are frequently lost. Cadena’s vocals are largely inaudible. There was a story going round that Dez was suffering with a throat infection, hence why we get a roadie singing the (very good) Black Flag cover. When we can hear Dez, he’s great. Still, seems to me like there was some issue sound wise here, though.
The Misfits are exactly what I expected, and that’s fine by me. From the dry ice enveloped opening, through raucous punk rock and over the top delivery, this is what I paid my money for. More than just delivering the goods though, The Misfits were genuinely exciting to see. I’ve seen novelty bands before and while they were fun, they were nothing like this. This isn’t a tribute band, it’s a well honed, obliterating machine. It drags us through all eras of The Misfits’ revered history and leaves you grateful to have been a part of it.
Absolutely phenomenal. Thank you Jerry, Dez and Eric. Long live The Misfits!
Please check out the Live Rooms soon – if they’re going to support bands like this, you need to support them!
The Misfits web page is here.
The Live Rooms web page is here.