Misfits – Newport, TJ’s - 27th June 2009 Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 18 July 2009 17:38

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There is, without question, a certain notoriety that goes hand in skeletal hand with a Misfits show in the legendary TJ’s venue in Newport.  To find that the night’s events, even with The Goat (Eric Arce from Murphy’s Law) once again having to stand in for drummer Robo who was refused entry into the UK, left all attendees breathless and battered and offering a rotting middle finger to all doubters who question the validity of the current incarnation of this seminal act, was a Jolt Cola injection straight to the heart.

misfits_lrg2Outside the venue, a friend tells me that I’m missing the “Gallows tribute band” who are already onstage; imagine my surprise when I enter to see Blackhole, the band fronted by Frank Carter’s brother Richard. The band had not been announced as support so it came as a bit of a shock to see this highly rated young band hurtling through their set. I’d seen them before at last year’s Hard Rock Hell festival where they stood head and shoulders above the other acts of similar style. Brother Frank’s band may have been a coat tail to ride on for Blackhole but, with a similar sound, this could also prove to be their Achilles’ heel.

Jerry Only, in ready for action stage gear, enters the venue through a fire exit, high fives the few fans who spot him and offers a bemused “Across the stage?” before treading the boards a little early to reach the sectioned off band area on the other side of the venue. The crowd, obviously, goes mental when they see him so he offers up a classic foot on monitor, devil horn up pose to the masses before disappearing into the darkness. But he doesn’t disappear for long. With a full drumkit changeover taking place, Only and guitarist Dez Cadena stand on their respective sides of the stage and soundcheck their own instruments. When a roadie attempts to get the foldback sorted against an ear-bending soundtrack being played over the PA, Only strides onstage telling the sound guy to “Turn that shit off so we can get this done, motherfucker!” – a classic moment before the band has even started.
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John Carpenter’s timeless theme from Halloween creepy crawls out of the speakers and suddenly the band launch into the song of the same name. The first thing I’d noticed about the crowd when I entered the venue was just how young some of these people were – there were kids for whom the teenage years were just a future dream. While these kids might only have known the Misfits from the iconic t-shirts that they had seen their favourite pop-punk bands wearing, they got themselves an early education as the place erupts. A little blond kid hanging on the barrier stays there for the whole show as the gates of Hell open up around him; a life-changing event that will no doubt see him grow into either a punk rock obsessive or a serial killer.

I could double the length of this review by simply listing all the songs in the Misfits set, the 30-something classic tunes flying by with barely time for a mention of the song title between them. ‘Teenagers From Mars’, ‘Astro Zombies’, ‘Hollywood Babylon’, ‘American Psycho’, ‘Walk Among Us’; all delivered to a backdrop of flying limbs. When someone like Jerry Only tells you that this is “the fucking craziest place ever” you kind of appreciate this opportunity that you have been given to pick topless Truffle Shufflers up from the sticky floor every two minutes. ‘Last Caress’ turns the place into a bomb site and gives Only the chance to show us just how much he is into sexual equality; female crowd surfers, as well as male, get either pulled onto the stage by the throat or blasted back into the throng by a spiked leather forearm smash. ‘We Are 138’ slays before the band leave the stage for a matter of seconds before returning for a slashing stab at Black Flag’s ‘Rise Above’ and a bone breaking ‘Die, Die My Darling’. Feedback is still ringing out as Jerry Only leaves the stage and stomps off towards the fire exit, skidding across the wet floor like a demonic Robin Cousins. He signs a fistful of autographs and disappears…..

I stepped out into the warm night with my hair looking like my own personal tribute to Kenny G - a result of having Jerry Only continually throw water into the faces of the ghouls at the front of the stage – with Only’s promise that the Misfits will return to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary TJ’s still ringing in my bleeding ears. A school bus full of crimson ghost clad kids whose lives got changed tonight will hope that that promise is honoured……