The Misfits, The Gaslight Anthem, FEAR & Mourning Noise
Prudential Center, Newark NJ
July 8th, 2023
New Jersey’s iconic horror punk founders, The Misfits, made a second go-around of their “reunion period” to the Prudential Center in Newark. The openers were two local homegrown bands The Gaslight Anthem (New Brunswick) and Mourning Noise (Lodi), along with fellow pioneer punk band FEAR.
Mourning Noise was founded during the same time period and town as The Misfits. Their drummer, Steve Zing, also played in Samhain and Danzig. They opened the show with a brisk 20-minute set of horror punk themed songs that was highlighted by “Vincent’s Theme”, “Misery Loves Me”, and lead singer-guitarist, Robby Bloodshed, falling flat on his back during the band’s second song.
FEAR, the 70’s punk band who share a similar tumultuous band history as the Misfits, were led by true punk original seventy-three-year-old vocalist and instigator Lee Ving. The band was also comprised of original members Philo Cramer (guitarist) and Spit Stix (drummer). They played a lively set, mostly derived from their first album, The Record. Lee Ving spit-fired the “1-2-3-4…1-2-3-4” count to kick the band into classics “Beef Bologna”, “Foreign Policy”, and “I Love Living in the City”, often sounding reminiscent of the late Lemmy Kilmeister.
Recently reformed, The Gaslight Anthem were direct support, opening with “45” while their New Jersey state back drop was displayed behind them. Lead singer, Brian Fallon, repeatedly expressed his appreciation to The Misfits for the opportunity and being a part of a rich history of New Jersey bands. “Sorry to interrupt your time between FEAR and Misfits”, intimating his band didn’t quite fit in with the rest with their Tom Petty, Springsteen, Replacements influenced rock before breaking into “” American Slang”. Their set continued with “Great Expectations”, “Handwritten”, and, an up-tempo closer, “The Backseat”, to a supportive crowd who opened up a mosh pit during their set.
Born out of an agreement to avoid more court battles, The Misfits have been making sporadic reunion appearances since 2016. Founders, lead singer Glen Danzig and bassist Jerry Only were accompanied by Jerry’s brother, guitarist and longtime band member Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. They were rounded out by the incomparable drummer, Dave Lombardo (formerly of Slayer and Testament, current Mr. Bungle among others), and live rhythm guitarist, Acey Slade (current Dope, formerly of the Muderdolls, and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts).
The Misfits took to a stage encompassed by two large demonic pumpkins, two upright coffins with lighted skulls on each side of the drum riser, a looming video screen, and a wall of amplifiers the length of the stage, each emblazoned with their “Crimson Ghost” skull emblem.
The set opened with “Death Comes Ripping“. This was followed in rapid succession by “I Turned into a Martian”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “Hybrid Moments”, and “Vampira” all played in a span of about 12 minutes, perfectly displaying the succinct length and speed of most Misfits’ song.
The band, whose average age is 60 years old, were a sight to behold with their energy and intensity. Danzig was in great voice, keeping up with the machine gun delivery of his lyrics. Jerry Only sporting his customary Devil-lock hairdo dressed like an extra from the movie “The Road Warrior” in his spiked vest, was all over the stage and broke at least 3 basses over his knee throughout the set. The equally Devil-locked monstrously sized Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, didn’t so much play his guitar as beat into submission while riffing away on stage and changed guitars after every song as a result.
Dave Lombardo is always a sight to behold on the drums, setting a furious precision pace. Danzig called him a “show off” during the intro to “Come Back”. Slade, set off to the side of the drum riser, rocked away while providing a solid rhythm guitar and backing vocals. The crowd matched the intensity with a furious mosh pit, crowd surfing, and often singing louder than the band, especially during “Skulls” and “Teenagers from Mars”.
For a band with such an animosity filled litigious history, (Danzig broke up the band after a disastrous Halloween show in 1983, overdubbed the instruments for record re-releases to avoid paying royalties to past members. Jerry subsequently sued Danzig and gained the right to tour as The Misfits with Doyle as Danzig claimed the publishing rights in an out of court settlement. Danzig also sued Jerry for merchandise royalties which was thrown out of court. Even this tour is billed as “The Original Misfits” with Danzig and Jerry being the only predominantly advertised members in all advertising. The other musicians, including Doyle, are considered “employees” of the band) they were downright hospitable. Engaging and joking with each other and the crowd throughout the night. Jerry frequently shared a laugh and patted Danzig on the back, looking like they were having fun, which was a marked difference from when I saw them in Philadelphia in 2019.
The rest of the set was highlighted by 2 songs made famous by Metallica on the Garage Days Re-revisited EP, a furious “Green Hell” & “Last Caress”
Various horror and Sci-fi images were flashed on the screens during “London Dungeon” & “Astro Zombies”. Also displayed were clips of riots and destruction during “Violent World”, clips of Marilyn Monroe during “Who killed Marilyn”(which was dedicated to Steve Zing by Danzig “This one’s for you fuck head”) and clips of the JFK assassination and Jackie Onassis for “ Bullet”
The encore started with “20 Eyes”, “Die, Die My Darling” (also covered by Metallica) followed, which Danzig stated was about killing your girlfriend and then quickly joked “Which I’m not saying you should do it. It’s just a song about that shit”. The set closer was a raging “We are 138”.
Overall, it was a great night of music. No one knows how much longer this reunion will last as they reportedly had a contractual obligation for a minimum of ten shows that has been beyond fulfilled. As of now the only scheduled date left in the future is July 15 in Phoenix. This very well could be the last time NJ or anyone else sees The Misfits. But, much like an Iron Maiden show, everyone was walking out with a piece of merchandise, so the money may keep them on the road into the future as nostalgia currently rules the market. Given their impact on music across genres, it was awesome to see a hallowed band possibly go out on a triumphant and noisy note.
Metal Mayhem ROC Correspondent
1. Death Comes Ripping
2. I Turned into a Martian
3. Where Eagles Dare
4. Hybrid Moments
6. London Dungeon
7. Some Kinda Hate
8. Mommy, Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight?
9. All Hell Breaks Loose
10. Hollywood Babylon
11. Who Killed Marilyn?
12. Earth A.D.
13. Green Hell
14. Come Back
15. Violent World
18. Teenagers From Mars
19. Children In Heat
21. Night of the Living Dead
22. Astro Zombies
23. Last Caress
24. 20 Eyes
25. Die, Die My Darling
26. We Are 138
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