Glenn Danzig has certainly had an interesting career in music. It started with horror punk pioneers the Misfits, the band he co-founded and sang vocals for from 1977 until 1983. He then founded the death-rock band Samhain, which was active from 1983-87. But things really took off under the band name Danzig, a hard-rock outfit with demonic overtones that released its first album, Danzig I, in 1988. Danzig’s most recent album is 2010’s Deth Red Sabaoth.
The Danzig concert at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Sunday night was advertised as a celebration of the 25-year anniversary of Danzig, as marked by the Danzig I album. But it was much more, thanks to a wild concert-within-the-concert with Misfits guitarist Doyle, aka, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein.
The show began with the foreboding sounds of “Overture of the Rebel Angels,” with lights calling attention to the backdrop of a huge image of the demonic goat skull from Danzig’s first solo album, plus related “skull-ptures” onstage. When the band had assembled, they launched into two hard-rocking songs from Danzig’s recent catalog, “SkinCarver” and “Hammer of the Gods.”
Then it was time for highlights from Danzig’s first three albums, played chronologically: “Twist of Cain” and “Am I Demon” from Danzig I, “Her Black Wings” and the hard ballad “Blood and Tears” from Danzig II and “Dirty Black Summer” and “How the Gods Kill” from Danzig III. Throughout there were hordes of devil horns held high, and lots of singing/yelling along to the songs.
Then all hell broke loose, with the band being joined by Doyle, with his face painted white, his jet-black hair in the “Devilock” style, and his rather impressive muscles on display. My buddy said Doyle looked like “Frankenstein on meth.” Or was it steroids?
Danzig and Doyle blasted through a collection of songs by the Misfits, including “Death Comes Ripping,” “I Turned Into a Martian” and “Skulls,” fittingly with the backdrop changed to the Misfits’ fiend skull. The songs were full of punk rock energy, and the crowd in the middle of the pit went into a frenzy.
After the madness of the Misfits and a brief pause, it was back to Danzig I with “Soul on Fire” and Danzig’s best-known song, “Mother.” The encore started with Danzig’s “Do You Wear the Mark?” Then Doyle came back for more Misfits craziness with “Bullet” and “Night of the Living Dead.”
For the whole show, Danzig himself was on fire, and his powerful baritone cut through the instrumental mayhem. While the concert focused on his past, it’s clear that Danzig’s still got it in the present.
Overture of the Rebel Angels
Hammer of the Gods
Twist of Cain
Am I Demon
Her Black Wings
Blood and Tears
Dirty Black Summer
How the Gods Kill
Death Comes Ripping (Misfits)
I Turned Into a Martian (Misfits)
London Dungeon (Misfits)
Astro Zombies (Misfits)
Last Caress (Misfits)
Soul on Fire
Do You Wear the Mark
Night of the Living Dead (Misfits)
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.