by / June 29th, 2009 /

Misfits – Academy, Dublin

Despite their Vampire like appearance, the Misfits Irish audience are an orderly bunch, turning up bright and early to queue in an orderly fashion hours before the show. Beards, black leather, piercings and unusual hairstyles were the order of the day for the relatively young crowd (many of whom wouldn’t have been twinkles in their father’s eyes when Misfits were formed) that waited patiently outside the Academy’s doors on this balmy evening.

Not many bands can boast three decades of touring under their belt. And nor can Misfits. With Jerry Only as the sole original member in the band, Misfits are as much Misfits as Thin Lizzy today are as much Thin Lizzy. Over the years, Misfits have had more comings and goings than a brothel on payday – even tonight Dublin was treated to an alteration to the lineup as a young, muscular and fresh faced roadie took seat behind the drums in place of ex-Black Flag member Robo, to a chorus of heckles. This soon subsided as Only appeared from the dark and plucked on his deep, throaty bass, so low it caused mass nostril wobbling. The crowd were in the palm of his hand for the rest of the night.

Blue searchlights swept over Only as his flexed his enormous biceps in an eerie silence before all three burst into a aural assault that didn’t subside. Songs were only divided by Only’s Noddy Holder-like introductory wail prior to each, and even then a casual fan would be struggling to see where one ended and the next began. It wasn’t until Dez Cadena got hold of the mic half an hour in, that the crowd got a breather. Looking like the skeleton they had painted on his face was a waste of time, the withered guitarist introduced a Black Flag song, ‘Six Pack’, before forgetting the chord sequence and requesting to start again. Strolling Bones, indeed. The crowd by this stage were all moshed out, ‘Twenty Eyes’ and ‘Horror Hotel’ went by next almost unnoticed, until Only burst into ‘Vampira’, sending the crowd into a strobe-light assisted frenzy. ‘Dig Up Her Bones’, followed soon after and crowd members began to strip as the heat in the front few rows intensified. Fortunately for Only and Cadena, two large cooling fans sat either side of the stage, not only to keep their leathery faces cool, but more importantly to prevent their make-up running.

It’s hard to pin why Misfits are so popular and carry such a loyal following. Their brand of ‘Horror-Punk’ is as much Glam Rock as it is Hardcore Punk. So many of their songs contain little more than simple repeated chants and Cadena is by no means a virtuoso on guitar, and yet the crowd call out for more at each refrain. The merchandise stall is busier than I have ever seen at the Academy and there are few bands that engage a crowd by doing so little. With at least three years left on this tour before their 35th Anniversary Tour unquestionably kicks off, its hard to imagine how Misfits with their walking dead appearance and ever-changing lineup will ever die.