“That’s enough of the new stutf. Let’s go back to the old stuff now…”
Four songs in, Glenn Danzig’s announcement finally got on the level of everyone in attendance at the Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. Not to ever argue against performers giving a range of material in their sets, but the quality drop-off between Danzig’s first four records and his later recordings is unmistakable.
The degree of immediacy and sheer loathing, the refining of genuine vulgarity and dark heaviness following the Misfits and Samhain’s (Danzig’s former bands) camp, the degree of sheer rip-your- face-off terror on those first Danzig recordings is something that has rarely been replicated by anyone, Danzig himself included.
And with that the band launched into “Twist Of Cain,” a heavy bluesy song the band hasn’t performed live in years prior to this tour.
The Grand Theatre projection screens bypassed showing the band and instead stayed locked on the band’s Michael Golden-drawn skull logo throughout the concert. Harsh effects, cast across the statues adorning the stage by streaming colored lights, were a perfect complement to the music.
The band ran through a chronological selection of its older material — “Not Of This World” and “She Rides” from the first self-titled album, “Tired of Being Alive” and “Her Black Wings” from the Danzig II album. Until Danzig walked offstage, only saying he “needed to handle something.”
Notorious for being hard to get along with, he simply returned announcing, “You know we all actually play our instruments up here. If I ever went to a show and they were playing tapes, I would jump onstage and kick their fucking asses.” Saying that his offstage issue had been taken resolved, the band played the next song.
At nearly 60 years old, Danzig’s voice is noticeably not where it once was, with the Elvis-like tremolo effect he’s always had. But he can still sing, and his gutteral grunts reverberated throughout the hall as if summoning the bats of hell.
And for such a famously standoffish personality, he graciously leaned over the barrier to shake hands with many of those pressed to the front of the floor several times throughout the night.
Danzig’s set continued to travel in order through the first four records, with guitarist Tommy Victor and bassist Steve Zing stalking across the stage.
It’s hard to differentiate between unadulterated evil and a degree of camp that almost inevitably sets in. But tonight Danzig turned that fluid combination of the two into a larger-than-life production that lasted nearly two hours, before concluding, fittingly, with the singer leering back into the crowd, thanking everyone repeatedly and saying a final farewell, followed by “Happy Halloween, motherfuckers!”
— Shaun Astor