Danzig Live Gig Review at Gibson Ampitheatre in Los Angeles

Danzig Live Gig Review at Gibson Ampitheatre in Los Angeles

by jessicajolly / Sep 02, 2013 / 0 comments
Friday, 30 August 2013

Last Friday a girlfriend and I saw Danzig at the Gibson Ampitheatre in Los Angeles. Glenn Danzig is 57 years old, 5’4″ tall, has a pot-belly… but is sex on a stick. My friend and I turned into squealing, headbanging schoolgirls. We were dying.

I could talk a lot about how great his performance was: how his vocal power still encompasses the entire room, that he’s shockingly hilarious on stage, and that his bluesy melodic version of punk-metal is so well composed that you marvel at the great songwriting while pulling a neck muscle from headbanging too hard (that happened.) But I don’t feel like writing a review. I’m just gonna talk about Death Metal.

This was Danzig’s 25th anniversary show, and Glenn acknowledged that on stage with “Here’s to 25 years of you guys saying ‘fuck you’! When I started this band, the music industry said ‘No.’ They told me no one wanted to listen to this kind of music. They said you all wanted Poison, and all that. But here you are. You wanted this and we’re here to give it to you.”

Now I know it may sound a bit pathetic for a guy near 60 with a great career behind him to be “hating” ondeath metal another band like Poison. But this wasn’t self-aggrandizing or bitter, not in the least. He was talking to us: to me and my girlfriend, to the Mexican metal heads sitting next to me who were LOSING THEIR MINDS, and to all my friends I grew up with who needed this shit. WE NEEDED IT. I was there. Poison was a fun radio distraction. But the death metal gave us something vital, when we didn’t know where else to turn.

I grew up in the Bible belt, in a town where they shot the documentary “Jesus Camp.” It’s a part of the world where most kids attend church camps and youth groups and are frequently informed about which of their friends are going to hell (after a classmate tells you that women who get abortions should receive the death penalty.) It’s a pervasive brainwashing that you become exposed to even if your family isn’t heavily involved in a church. Because it’s all around you, at school and in extra-curricular activities. My first youth group experience came when a theater parent asked if I’d ever been saved. I said “no”, then he told me his kids’ youth group was taking a hayride that night. F’ yeah! I loved hayrides! The hayride ended with a big speech about how they proved hell exists and we might go there if we masturbate.

So you’re 13 years old and you’ve been hearing this shit, and maybe you are one of those kids who knows somehow, deep down inside, that it’s all a bunch of crap. But you don’t yet know how to express yourself and it’s improper to argue with the grownups, so you just walk around scared of hell and angry about… something. Then you open up a metal magazine and there’s a picture of Mike Patton wearing a t-shirt that says “Remember Kids, Satan Loves You.” At first you slam it shut, terrified. Then you open it again and see the smirk on his face and start laughing. Then you shout “FUCK YEAH!” You’ve just found your way out.

So you start listening to this loud, angry, scary music and it’s soooo gooooood. And the fact that he’s singing about vampires and masturbating lets you know that these natural instincts you are feeling aren’t so unnatural. And that vampires and ghosts and satan are just made up characters that are fun to tell stories about. Suddenly the world isn’t so scary. And you aren’t so angry anymore. It’s all just funny.

I have no idea what demographic is reading this article, but to any of the conservatives who have burned these kinds of records because you think they cause suicides and violence: trust me, they do quite the opposite. No one in these bands worships the devil. None of them want the people who purchase their music to kill themselves. I mean, Glenn Danzig was throwing WATER BOTTLES out into the audience on Friday and telling the mosh-pit to make sure they don’t hurt anybody. He’s a dude known for how much he loves his cats. Rather than instigating violence, this music gives people a way to enjoy the aesthetics of the horror mystique and unleash their energy by dancing like wild animals to loud music. If anything, it stems violence.

All you wanna do afterwards is hug a sweaty someone.

Let’s talk about the Mexican metal-heads I was sitting next to. I’m in love with these guys. These dudes flailed, jumped, and air-guitared for the entire hour and a half. I’m sure they burned at least 1500 calories. They knew every word to every song and didn’t let up even when monster-ballad “Blood and Tears” was played. I know nothing about these 20-somethings, and have no clue what kind of problems they face. I could make assumptions based on geography and ethnic background that perhaps they are exposed to gang culture, or that they are recent immigrants whose family escaped civil war, or maybe they just have really annoying moms. But whatever it is, I’m incredibly certain they aren’t going to unleash any physical violence onto anyone any time soon, because they just spent every morsel of energy headbanging to heavy metal. Anger tends to evaporate when you dance for such a long period, and there’s a feeling of bliss you get at the end of that kind of show. All you wanna do afterwards is hug a sweaty someone.

Much of the mainstream rolls their eyes at death metal, seeing it as overly loud and juvenile. Well, it is kinda juvenile. For reasons I stated above, that’s kinda the point. But as for overly loud, I will be critical for a moment and say that many of the bands that heavy metal inspired are not so great, and the nu-metal genre is kind of embarrassing. The problem is, the kids now scream every word. The reason bands like Danzig and Mr Bungle and Black Sabbath were so great is they only screamed for emphasis; just a few phrases in any given song. It’s the restraint Glenn Danzig shows in his performances that makes him so superior. It’s why, 25 years after the band formed, young metal-heads are still listening to them. It’s timelessly good song writing. (Most of the crowd was under 30, to my great surprise.) Also, if you are going to do any kind of rap-metal, you better be a great fucking rapper. Mike Patton is great fucking rapper. But he’s the only one in the rap-metal genre that I can listen to. (Please tell me if there’s a new performer that’s just as talented. I’d love to hear it.) But as much as I may bemoan the sound of many new metal groups, I’ll never deny their importance. They are giving kids in the bible belt and in southern California and everywhere else in the world what I got at age 13. I’m happy they are still here. \m/ \m/

Rating out of 11: 
No rating