Danzig Confronts a Heckler at the Warfield

July 30, 2015
The Warfield

“You wanna fucking go? I'll fuck you up, motherfucker!”

Danzig is upset, and he's mouthing these words very clearly to some drunk guy in the audience who is flipping him off while the band plays “Am I Demon,” a blistering track off the 1988 album now known to fans as Danzig I. He's motioning for the heckler to come up on stage and fight him, “I want you so bad, I can taste it,” he mouths, burning a hole through the guy with a hate-filled stare. At 60, Danzig is still jacked up and menacing, wearing a skin-tight black t-shirt, black jeans, black boots, and a over-sized belt buckle of his signature skull logo. When the song ends, Danzig addresses his provocateur (and the rowdy, packed Warfield) using the microphone.

“Everyone besides this guy is having a good time, right?”

[jump] Danzig fans young and old scream to assure Danzig they are having a great time. But he continues speaking to the asshole that dares to test the former lead singer of seminal horror punk band The Misfits, the enigmatic counterculture icon, the skull-worshiping rock god, DANZIG.

“Why are you here if you're not having a good time? Every show this guy comes and flips the finger at me, but you never get up on stage because you know you'll get stomped the fuck out!”

The crowd roars with approval. They want Danzig to stomp this guy out, and there's a sense that he just might do it. Well, at least if the headlines relating to Danzig choking out another fan who tried to mess with him at a show just a couple weeks ago are any indication of the singer's impulse control. There's also the sense that most who came to see Danzig in 2015 want to believe in a Danzig that's gonna fuck some sucker up for testing him. For over three decades Danzig has represented a dangerous, gothic, kind of masculinity that speaks to the youthful, rebellious side of his fanbase. He's a real-life Demon. I can almost hear people thinking, “Put this guy's skull on your wall, Danzig!”

“Just get the fuck out of here, man. I'll even pay for your fucking ticket. You're not gonna ruin everyone else's time. Just leave, go!”

The heckler escapes with his life this time, but Danzig made his point: This is his world, and we are doing things his way. The band rips into another earlier rocker as cheers ring out from the floor and devil horn hand gestures fly up en mass, remaining in the air throughout most of the night.

Danzig and his band play with a raw physicality. Danzig thrusts his hips and points up into the balcony, he jerks his head and arms violently in time with the cymbal hits, and sports grotesque pained expressions across his face as he sings. He resembles a professional wrestler making his dramatic ring entrance, moving and posing his muscular frame in sync with his theme song. But for Danzig, “Twist of Cain,” “How The God's Kill,” “Snakes of Christ,” and “Do You Wear The Mark,” are all his theme song.

There is a complete absence of color on stage, only black with some white accents and skulls — lots of skulls. I count no less than a dozen signature Danzig skulls on the stage. Theres one on a huge banner to back the band, one on the bass drum, atop all the speaker cabinets, on the band's shirts, guitars, etc. I'm sure there are more if you looked closer. It's a striking visual display.

Sonically, the band is loud — maybe even too loud. The guitar tone is a piercing squeal that overpowers the star of the show, Danzig's iconic voice. That's probably an “un-metal” opinion though, and it doesn't deter the crowd on the floor from slamming and head banging along to every song. The energy in the room is high, with multiple people being helped off the dance floor bleeding or exhausted. Danzig does his best to help, throwing multiple water bottles into the crowd.

About half way through the 90-minute set Danzig mentions that he has a covers album coming out this year and proceeds to play a metal version of Elvis Presley's “Let Yourself Go.” Followed by two “theme songs from '60s and '70s biker movies that I like” which both had a rockabilly tinge to them. A cover of Black Sabbath's “N.I.B.” rounded out the covers portion of the set.

Ending the night with an exciting performance of “Mother,” followed by a three-song encore, which included the strip club approved dirty blues number “She Rides,” metalheads and fiend club members alike left the venue satisfied and with a little more hearing damage. Not a bad “Dirty Black Summer” night.

Critics Notebook:

— It was made clear by the Warfield that no photographs were to be taken of the bands. I was told by one staff member, “If Danzig sees the light of a phone he will stop the show.” I thought Danzig was a demon, not a vampire?

— Pennywise's core audience seems to be shirtless dudes with backwards fox racing hats, dickies shorts, high socks, and Vans skate shoes. “Bro Hymn” definitely spoke to these people.

— The Cancer Bats, one of the opening acts, had van troubles and couldn't get to the gig.

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