The Misfits at Riot Fest split the difference between funny and awesome

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Glenn Danzig wasn't half-assing it last night. Yes, he and guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein are standing in front of a giant inflatable jack-o'-lantern. - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Glenn Danzig wasn't half-assing it last night. Yes, he and guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein are standing in front of a giant inflatable jack-o'-lantern.

Well, that was weird. And funny. And awesome.

Last night at Riot Fest I saw the reunited Misfits. Something I've only fantasized about. The sort of thing my adolescent dreams were made of. And it was cool. It was really cool.

There were moments in the band's 90-minute set when they fired on all cylinders so perfectly it was almost transcendental. Moments when Jerry Only's bass, crunchy and boxy, sounded exactly how it does on Evilive—they brought me so much joy. There were the times when the crowd's voices soared over the band's in a massive sing-along that made my hair stand on end. 

Jerry Only and Danzig play their second show together since 1983, with a cameo by somebody's feet. - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Jerry Only and Danzig play their second show together since 1983, with a cameo by somebody's feet.

When they were in the thick of it, the Misfits sounded great. Jerry Only did most of the heavy lifting. Full of energy, he sang all the huge choruses along with front man Glenn Danzig—whose voice isn't quite what it used to be, but still good enough for the festival crowd. Until Denver's Riot Fest a couple weeks ago, the two of them hadn't played together since 1983, and they both boiled over with charisma—though their chemistry with each other was a little stiff and forced. Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo was a great choice to anchor the band: the Misfits have never had excellent drummers, so I was concerned that Lombardo would be too good for this lineup, but his distinctive looseness and power fit in perfectly. 

Only is clearly having a ball up there. - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Only is clearly having a ball up there.

If anything let the air out of the set, it was the Danzig's stage banter. He followed each song with a long, awkward pause while he obviously caught his breath into the microphone. And then his commentary rolled out. With just a few words, Danzig transformed his image from Prince of Darkness to Beavis and Butt-Head. My favorite quip was probably "I can't hear shit up here. Our monitors suck ass!" But it was also hard to top "I must be having a good time—my fuckin' zipper keeps falling down!" People around me laughed out loud at his absurd comments, and after he went on and on about the giant glowing pumpkins the band had for stage props ("You guys like these fuckin' pumpkins? I think they're cool as shit!"), one guy behind me screamed at the top of his lungs: "SHUT UP, DANZIG!"

Doyle and Danzig - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Doyle and Danzig

A bunch of dudes my dad's age stomping around onstage dressed as zombies is totally weird and silly, but for any Misfits lover, this was some must-see shit. And if you missed it, don't be so sure you won't get another chance—I wouldn't be surprised if this band hits the road. With Only and Danzig reunited after more than three decades of strife, anything is possible.

"You guys like these fuckin' pumpkins?" - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • "You guys like these fuckin' pumpkins?"

Here's what setlist.fm says the Misfits played last night:

Misfits Setlist Riot Fest Chicago 2016 2016



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