February 2018


The Original Misfits
The Forum
December 30, 2017
Show Review By: Jaime Pina

It’s hard to write about certain bands without doing it from a personal point of view. As a critic you must remain objective but sometimes that’s a pretty tall order. The Danzig, Only and Doyle line-up (all 3 or no deal) was the reunion that nobody ever thought would happen and of course, everyone had different opinions of what would occur. Would Glenn and Jerry be able to remain on good terms throughout the dates without quarrel? Did they legitimately sell out a venue like the Forum? And most importantly, how long would they continue before parting ways again? After years of bad blood it was interesting to watch things unfold.

In the small town I grew up in it was a lot of effort to get information. In the days before the Internet you relied on word-of-mouth, fanzines and some legit rags and cassette tapes sent from friends with access to records that were all but impossible to find. My band at the time, the legendary Los Cremators was an early horror punk band. We had heard about a band from New Jersey called the Misfits. There was no chance of getting one of their singles in a rural town in California. Eventually someone came by our practice space with a cassette of some songs from their just released album on Ruby/Slash. It sounded like Oi! music. All this hype for an American Oi! band? I think it was Death Of Glory singer Jim Rios who wound up acquiring the actual vinyl copy and when he played it I started to warm up to it. There was an Oi! influence on some songs but others like Vampira, Nike Au Go-Go, Skulls and Devil’s Whorehouse had undeniable power.

Three opportunities to see the band arose and somehow my friends in the small rural town could not get a road trip together. And then they were over with. Earth A.D. came out posthumously and the band had jumped on the hardcore wagon playing everything ultra-fast and Robo from Black Flag was on drums. It sounded amazing. Later on I recorded some of the early singles a friend had and was amazed at the band’s musical progression. It wasn’t “the band” so much as singer/songwriter Glenn Danzig was a master of employing various influences into the band and ended up outgrowing them.

Years later the band’s logo, taken from an old film serial became omnipresent. A reunion seemed logical but Danzig had forged ahead into the mainstream and was enjoying a steady career with his self-named band while bass player Jerry Only and brother/guitarist Doyle had gone to court to earn the right to continue performing as The Misfits. Things became ugly on several levels with Doyle eventually quitting and then appearing as Danzig’s special guest billed as “as close to a Misfits reunion as you’ll ever get.”

After glowing reviews and an unbelievable turnout at Riotfest the reunited band announced a show at the Forum in Los Angeles and the show sold out in record time. With the Crimson Ghost logo projected all around the venue, you couldn’t help but feel a certain excitement. Opening band Discharge was fantastic and showed a new generation why they have legendary status. And the new singer Jeff "JJ" Janiak did an absolutely fine job singing the band’s early songs as well as some of the excellent new songs. Akaline Trio was a little out of place between two gnarly punk bands but was entertaining and kept things going.

With the pumpkins from the Halloween single at either end of the stage the iconic trio hit the stage with the more than reliable Dave Lombardo on drums and Acey Slade on a rather redundant second guitar. They powered through songs from all of the Danzig-era releases. While you can’t please everyone, the set was pretty comprehensive and really delivered. Glenn’s voice was blown and seemed stronger when actually singing then during between song banter. As unlikely as it may seem these songs worked well in a big concert setting and the sing-along factor was as natural as when it occurs in a football stadium. And with Lombardo powering the machine, the sheer force was lethal.

Jerry Only and Doyle seemed on stage as energetic as ever with their iconic images translating well to the back rows of the Forum. And yes, every seat was filled. The Misfits pulled it off. While bands like the Stones can seemingly go on forever the window on punk bands is rather limited by comparison. So as far as the “get off my lawn” thing with the no cell phone policy, I honestly think the people who witnessed this event will be glad later on to have the pictures in their heads rather than in their phones.

THANK YOU to Dan Canzonieri.

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