Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Misfits at Irving Plaza

Jerry Only
Glenn Danzig formed the Misfits in 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey, early in the punk rock movement. Early on, he recruited 18-year-old bassist Gerard Caiafa, Jr., who had just received his first bass as a Christmas present. Caiafa changed his name to Jerry Only, and as the band developed its horror punk identity with white and black face makeup and Only established his "devilock" hairdo, the other members of the line-up changed frequently. The Misfits were not especially well known by the time of the band's first breakup in 1983, but achieved more fame retrospectively after Danzig successfully moved on to harder rock bands Samhain and Danzig. Only won the Misfits name from Danzig in a court battle and maintained the brand through numerous personnel changes from 1995 until another breakup in 2000. Only formed a new band and became the lead vocalist in 2001. The Misfits most recent album is 2013's Dead Alive! The band's current lineup consists of Only on bass, Dez Cadena (of Black Flag) on guitar, Eric "Chupacabra" Arce (of Murphy's Law) on drums, and the most recent addition, Only's son, Jerry, Jr., on second guitar.

The spirit of the original Misfits was kept alive at Irving Plaza tonight. Although this was not the line-up that mined the horror-punk niche, the performance was more about sustaining an iconic legacy than about breaking new ground. The music was a tempest, thunderous and lightning fast, with catchy melodies that softened the blow. The songs were short, and often featured no lead guitar or change in chord patterns. Particularly effective this close to Halloween, Only sang from a microphone stand adorned with a human skeleton, and the musicians' macabre make-up helped fuel a larger-than-life punk-rock party. The night was all for fun and not to be studied seriously. Afterwards, the two Jerrys stayed in the photo pit for quite a while, meeting the fans, posing for photographs and autographing admission tickets.

Visit the Misfits at www.misfits.com.