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Thursday, May 12, 2011 #

I'm a fan of pretty much all kinds of music, but certain types of music really resonate with me. For most of my adult(?) life, I've been a huge Danzig fan. I've seen them play live at least 5 times and have managed to collect a few backstage passes, guitar picks, tshirts, etc over the years... along with buying everything they've ever released, for better or worse.

Mostly, I'm a fan of the first three albums and the Demonsweat Live EP. After that, there were too many lineup changes and musical direction changes for my tastes. (For the record, I'm also a pretty big fan of the work they did as Samhain.) So even though I'm not as impressed with some of their more recent efforts, I keep buying their CDs (there's almost always a couple good tracks on them) and seeing them live because they play a lot of their older material in concert.

When I heard they would be playing in Asheville, NC (which is a pretty cool, happenin town like Austin, TX in a lot of ways) at the Orange Peel, I snatched up a couple tickets for myself and my buddy Theo Moore (who is also a Danzig fan, but had never seen them live.)

The crowd was an interesting, eclectic mix of rednecks and skinheads, girls in their teens wearing Danzig tshirts that are quite possibly older than they are & the former groups significantly older boyfriends (and likely owner of the aforementioned tshirts) and finally the "former bad girls" who quite probably hadn't listened to Danzig in 15 years (and had quit doing drugs, gotten married, squeezed out a few kids and gotten a "mom" haircut...) They were easy to spot, because they were wearing a BRAND NEW Danzig t-shirt featuring a 20 year old album cover (that they bought at Hot Topic when they heard Danzig was coming to town.)

The opening bands were 2 Cents and DevilDriver, in that order. I had never heard of either before last night.

2 Cents was pretty interesting. Fairly good stage presence and the lead singer was pretty into it. Ripped on some of the more stoic members of the crowd a bit, which was pretty funny. Overall, they gave me the impression of what Pantera would have been like if Mike Patton (Faith No More) had been their lead singer instead of Phil Anselmo.

About halfway through their set, security rushed into the pit and pulled out a couple of dudes, one of whom had a seriously busted nose. I didn't see the fight, but the band did and made a few comments about having a good time and not being an asshole. This was a recurring theme last night.

After 2 Cents came DevilDriver. These guys got some serious energy from the crowd and were obviously well known to this bunch despite being from L.A. Overall, I just wasn't impressed. Their sound mix really sucked and it was really hot and really loud and it all just started to sound like screechy over-bassed mud. They played for a little under an hour and had a huge pit going (with some prompting by the band) and again, lots of energy and people really dug it, so that's cool... just not my thing.

After a REALLY long break and multiple (futile) attempts by well meaning individuals to get the crowd chanting DANZIG, the lights finally went out and they hit the stage. I should probably point out that Glenn Danzig is pushing 56 years old and while he may live another 50 years, age hasn't been kind to him so far.

His arms are still massive but the rest of him had pretty much gone to hell. He started off like he was shot out of a cannon... arms and legs flailing around everywhere.... cracking the microphone cord like a whip and screaming incoherently. Sadly, it pretty much went downhill from there. In between each song he would ramble for a few seconds and drop a LOT of F-Bombs and then go into the next song.

The audio mix, again, was pretty awful and it was so loud that some parts were literally painful. More painful than that was the realization that his voice was almost completely shot. This is a guy that could sing his ass off, back in the day. Last night was a lot of incoherent screaming and odd moments where his voice would give out entirely in the middle of a verse. Not pretty.

I think he may have been drunk, actually, as he had a tendency to lurch and stumble a bit, and I think he actually lost his balance at one point though he recovered without it being too obvious. He did drop the mic at least once during a song, and he spent a lot of time letting the audience sing for him.

The set list was mostly classics, with a few songs from the new CD. He opened with Twist of Cain (a good choice) and wrapped up with Mother. After a few minutes offstage he came back and did an encore of three songs including Long Way Back From Hell.

It's kind of a shame that artists don't make any money off CD sales anymore and are forced to grudgingly tour to pay the rent. It was pretty obvious he'd rather be sitting at home watching Metalocalypse reruns and prank calling Jerry Only, and honestly I'm fine with that. I'll keep buying his studio CDs, but I think I'm done with his live shows.