It was unfortunate that only a small crowd was gathered for Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’s solo show at Trees. Longtime member of punk legends The Misfits, Doyle brought his solo band to town, regrettably, on the same night Mastodon and Clutch were playing at another venue. Regardless, Doyle and his band admirably, professionally, and with zero-fucks-given, tore through their set to the delight of those who did choose to attend. The crowd on this night was probably what you would expect. The all-ages show brought plenty of young people, particularly high-school aged goth girls. The Misfits connection brought plenty of old people. I saw a couple of 30-something guys adorned with skeleton face-paint, and more than few faded classic Misfits t-shirts. The collective audience was generally amiable and enthusiastic throughout the night.
Playing tracks from 2013s Abominator, and a few classic Misfits songs, Doyle’s band sounded tight, fresh, and constantly on the verge of the unexpected. Featuring Cancerslug’s Alex “Wolfman” Story on vocals, Brandon Pertzborn on drums, and “Left-Hand” Graham on bass, Doyle’s band is really more than just a one-man show. Sure, Doyle is the “frontman,” but Alex Story puts on a hell of a performance. His voice is strong and powerful and his stage presence is intense and unpredictable. What’s more, it never seemed there would be an issue of “stealing the spotlight” from Doyle. The band “Doyle” comes across as more of a unified band whose name just happens to be that of their guitar player. The band doesn’t exist to show-off their guitar player; rather, they are a band whose members all share a common goal: to rock your ass off.
But, if I’m going to bring up stage presence, it’s hard not to talk about the man himself. Doyle, shirtless, face-painted, and wearing a pair of spandex and knee-pads, stalks the stage and at times literally beats his guitar strings. It’s full-on, guitar player bravado, but rather than coming across as some contrived showmanship, Doyle is as genuine as it comes. As far as I can remember, Doyle didn’t say a word the entire night. However, he was fully engaged in the show and the audience. His wordless and powerful performance played right in to the whole Frankenstein image, intentional or not.
Abominator tracks like “Valley of Shadows,” “Dreamingdeadgirls,” and “Learn to Bleed,” blend Doyle’s punk roots with more of a metal sound reminiscent of his other former band, Gorgeous Frankenstein. The songs performed live rise above the recorded versions due to the sheer intensity and energy that the band brings to the show. Misfits classics, like “Die, Die My Darling,” “Last Caress,” and “Where Eagles Dare,” fit right in to the set alongside the Abominator material. Not surprisingly, the Misfits songs generated the most enthused mosh-pits, but it did seem like the majority of folks in attendance were familiar with Doyle’s solo material.
We recommend checking out Doyle’s band. They’re loud, intense, and a helluva lot of fun. Sure, the Misfits association is strong and undeniably influential. But, Doyle’s band and solo material should be considered beyond Misfits genealogy. You may be motivated to attend a show due to Misfits nostalgia, but you’ll leave the show wanting more Doyle.
– J. Kevin Lynch