Reviewed: The Misfits at The Modjeska, 8/7/09


photo by Dave Rudnick

photo by Dave Rudnick

Words by Dan Agacki

I am not a cheap guy.  Show after show, I hand over the recommended donations, without argument.  But, when it came time to shell out twenty dollars for The Misfits, I had to question myself: could they really be worth it in 2009? 

My pondering was quickly put to rest, as a ticket fell from the heavens and into my hands.  It was a done deal.  Time to switch to mental preparation.  No Danzig, and the potential for many post-Danzig era songs.  On the plus side, Dez Cadena, from Black Flag, on guitar!  Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Black Flag happens to be the most important band in the history of rock music.  To see a member play live, in the flesh, is monumental.

As I approached the doors of the Modjeska, the security guard took one look at my bag and shot out, “No cameras.”  A quick trip to my car and I walked back feeling a little dirty for attending an event that would enforce such nonsense. 

The crowd was still and scattered for the opener, Kenosha’s Self Destruckt.  Their bland mix of punk and hardcore did nothing for me.  The musicianship was solid, but the songwriting was on a primitive, high school punk band level.  “Keno-core” just isn’t what it used to be, I guess.

Get Rad was in the process of setting up when I wandered off to find the bathrooms.  At the doorway, the smell of vomit wafted into my face.  I approached the only open urinal to see it overflowing onto the floor.  I opted for a stall, leading me to the source of the bathroom’s horrible odor.  Making my way back to the stage, the vomit stench would not leave my nostrils.  I felt like I had just stepped into a movie —  It was the perfect snapshot of what Hollywood glamorizes punk as being. 

There are few bands that have the versatility to play both basements and concert halls.  Get Rad and the Speedfreaks are two such bands.  It is easy to get lost in the wide, open space of the stage, but Get Rad managed to retain the high energy of their previous shows.  Banging out one song after another, they pulled off a confident, raging set.

The Speedfreaks followed with another solid set — they looked very comfortable and the songs flowed into one another, fast and bridged by heavy instrumental passages.  It was the kind of set that only a veteran band can pull off.

After a lengthy set up, The Misfits took the stage.  The thud-y drums and wall-of-mud bass sounds that characterized their early records came across perfectly.  With rapid-fire succession, one hit after another blasted out of the speakers.  The most impressive part of their set was Jerry Only’s voice.  The guy can sing!  He doesn’t have the hearty tone of Danzig, but he hit the notes dead on, sounding similar to Ian Astbury of The Cult.  The only downside to their set was the Black Flag covers.  Without Greg Ginn’s fretboard flailing and Dez singing instead of barking, the songs lacked any punch.  They were on the level of any cruddy local band hacking their way through the classics.  There were only four Flag songs though, so not enough to affect the set as a whole. 

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but The Misfits are worthwhile.  The set was energy-inducing, and their songs have held up surprisingly well.  With confidence, I will say that, right now, The Misfits are the best that they have been in their post-Danzig years.


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