Glenn Danzig hasn't been through Indianapolis in a long time. So when he finally returned last Friday night, it was quite the spectacle.
After two hilariously lame opening sets from Monstro and Kyng, who followed the long-standing tradition of dumb-ass metal bands using misspelled names, the crowd was rabid for Danzig. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the house lights cut out and ominous music began to play.
Danzig strode out onto the stage clad in black leather pants, a black leather sleeveless shirt and his signature demon skull belt buckle. After acknowledging the crowd, the band ripped into "Skincarver." Danzig himself thrashed around on the stage, dashing any fears that, in his "old" age he would just be going through the motions.
While "Skincarver," from 2004's Circle of Snakes, was pleasing to the more diehard fans in the room, it was his next song, "Twist of Cain," from the band's 1988 debut, that sent the whole crowd into a fist-pumping, head-banging frenzy that lasted the rest of the night.
While there is no denying that Danzig is a musical genius, there is also something comical about all the satanic/undead/Viking imagery surrounding his music. At one point in the set, he announced that he would be playing song from 2010's Deth Red Sabaoth called "Hammer of the Gods." The song was amazing but what was truly interesting about it was that Danzig had waited nine albums and 23 years before finally deciding to title a song "Hammer of the Gods."
After a hair-raising performance of 1992's "How The Gods Kill," Danzig summoned from the depths (back stage) his old accomplice, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein (aka Paul Caiafa). Doyle was the kid brother of Misfits' bassist Jerry Only and had been taught to play the guitar by Danzig before joining the band in 1980.
Doyle took the stage in full Misfits' costume and the band exploded into the thrashy Misfits' classic "Demonomania." Before playing "Bullet," Danzig explained to the crowd that the "next song is about JFK getting his brains blown out. I can't say that I'm too sad because every president we've ever had has been a fucking piece of shit."
Before closing the Misfits portion of the set, Danzig gave a vague hint as to what the last song would be, saying "This song has been covered by a lot of bands but I still think the Misfits did it best," before ripping into the brilliantly offensive "Last Caress."
Following Doyle's departure, the band returned to Danzig mode and played the obligatory "Mother" before walking off stage to thunderous chants of "DAN-ZIG! DAN-ZIG!"
Danzig has been at the cutting edge of all things dark and heavy for nearly 40 years now and, if his most recent album and his live performances are any indication, he is showing no signs of growing lazy and complacent. Sure, his hair line had receded a bit and his tummy wasn't a chiseled as it was in the poster above my bed and his malevolent tenor wasn't as powerful as it was in '88, but there is no denying the vision and legacy of Glenn Danzig.