The Misfits have long been admired for their originality and endurance. Through many line-up changes, lawsuits, and the branding of one of the most iconic band logos ever, the Misfits have stayed relevant to punk and mainstream audiences for more than 30 years. Currently touring a retrospective set focused on the bands 1977 debut Static Age, the Misfits sounded as strong and relevant as ever. Fronted by bassist Jerry Only, the only remaining original band member, and joined by his son, Jerry Jr. on guitar, and Eric “Chupacabra” Arce on drums, the band was tight, fierce, and seemingly unstoppable.
The set did include Static Age in its entirety, but not necessarily a front-to-back replication. Depending on what format you own (vinyl, CD, other) Static Age, for this reviewer, is also known as the Legacy of Brutality CD. A compilation that featured a handful of tracks not on the original Static Age release. They played everything on Legacy and classic Misfits songs, like “Last Caress,” “Die, Die My Darling,” and “Astro Zombies,” were sprinkled throughout. The band was also joined by She Demons’ bassist Alicia Vigil for the new song “Vampire Girl.” This new song isn’t anything out of the norm for the Misfits and it saddled up comfortably with the classic material.
Throughout the show, Jerry Only and company never let their foot off the gas. Songs like “TV Casualty,” “Hybrid Moments,” and “Halloween,” induced the crowd into a roar, while songs like “Spinal Remains” and “Where Eagles Dare” set the mosh-pit to hyper-drive. The stage had three microphones set up and Jerry and son would sing at whichever one they ended up standing in front of at the time. Constantly moving around the stage and inciting the fans to riot, the bands energy was unrelenting. Set up behind the stage was a video screen that showed classic horror movie footage, as well as some original material prepared by Jerry Only that featured horror special-effects legend Tom Savini blasting zombies with a shotgun.
At the end of the set, Jerry Only immediately jump down off the stage and began signing autographs and taking photos with fans. Cute goth-punk chicks, dudes in their 40s, and even a seventh-grader got to chat briefly and get a photo with Jerry. He was 100% genuine and gracious with his time. Fans would ask him if he would sign an autograph and take a photo, “Sure, whatever you want.” Engaging fans in conversation, taking selfies, signing LPs, CDs, and t-shirts, Jerry appeared to really appreciate the fans and completely won me over as a solid dude. I purchased a Misfits hat and asked him to sign it. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Sure, I appreciate you coming out tonight.”
While Jerry remains the only original member of the band, I didn’t really miss Glenn Danzig singing these songs. The early material doesn’t focus as much on Glenn’s baritone and bravado, and Jerry admirably handles the vocal duties. Regardless of who’s in the band, this is the Misfits. They sounded just as inspired and energetic as the early days and retain the spirit and intensity that has always defined their live performance. We highly recommend you check them out and stay after the show to personally thank Jerry. Frankly, at the end of the show you want to thank him.
– J. Kevin Lynch