Rock & Shock 2009: Misfits + Type O Negative at the Palladium

Misfits, "Saturday Night"

So far, October has been a great month for me to live out my adolescent fantasies: In the span of one weekend, I not only got to shake Leatherface's hand, but also to see Type O Negative singing "Love You to Death" from five feet away. (Thank you, Rock & Shock all-access press pass.)

When we waltz into the Palladium on Saturday night, we arrive just in time for the tail end of Saint Vitus's set, which has an Anvil-ish whiff to it: "Those of you who remember us, you are why we are here," the frontman tells us. "Those of you who are seeing us for the first time, don't be too pissed off. Just go home, drop some acid, and listen to our records." The suggestion of mellowness isn't working so well: a burly guy suddenly lunges at top-hatted fellow perched on a ledge in front of us, trying to drag him off. Crazybrains is swiftly spirited away by a bouncer -- but not everyone will go down that easy tonight.

When it's time for the Misfits, we wade through a sea of girls wearing T-shirts emblazoned with tit-cupping skeleton hands (signature Misfits merch). A clutch of teen boys have painted their faces up like Fiend skulls, infectiously stoked to see a band that's been around roughly 15 years longer than they've been alive. We set up camp right next to the stage, under a sign that declares: "No crowd-punching, head-walking, or fighting."

The stage setup is impressive: flanked by two gigantic Fiend heads, a rib cage and an upthrust skeleton arm adorn one mic stand; in the center sits a drum set sprouting huge spikes, skulls impaled on every cymbal head. These guys really know how to work a theme.

When frontman Jerry Only -- looking supernaturally jacked in his cutoff spiked jacket and black rubber tourniquets cinched around his arm, his oily devilock dripping down his face -- and the band launch into "Teenagers from Mars," my face is right beside a speaker well. The sonic blast makes my chest palpitate. Their set mows us down in a machine-gun-style blur, with ratatat bursts of face-melting sludge. In a rare pause between songs, Only soaks us with water and barks: "Are you ready to sing? Or are you ready to go the fuck home?" The crowd erupts into a paroxysm of moshing. For me, the Misfits highlight of the night is "Descending Angel," as the crowd howls the "Oh-wah-oh" chorus in unison. For the finale, Only rips all the strings off his bass. "One more song!" fans chant. Only good-naturedly responds: "Aw, go fuck yourself."

Then the Misfits banner falls, and Type O Negative's rises. A roadie brings out a coffin-shaped music stand with lyric sheets for lead singer Peter Steele, who soon emerges onto the darkened stage with the rest of the Drab Four (though tonight, keyboardist Scott Warren  is standing in for Josh Silver, who's "in school working towards certification as a paramedic").

For Rasputin-inspired opener "Dead Again," guitarist Kenny Hickey is wielding his guitar like a ray gun, blasting squall into the audience, while the vibrations from Johnny Kelly's jackhammer drumbeats rattle my legs through the floor.

But by song #2 -- "In Praise of Bacchus" -- it's clear this set will be the dark, sanguine/mossy yin to the Misfits' blistering yang: we've hopped from 2-minute-long horrorpunk bursts to more languid 8-minute goth-rock ballads about chloroform living ("Anesthesia") and werewolf women on the rag ("Wolf Moon"). But the moshing is still in full effect -- maybe a little too full. During heavy number "The Profits of Doom," the bouncers drag a thicknecked dude (who's most like been crowd-punching, head-walking, or fighting) out of the heaving pit. He's kicking and spitting, and it takes three massive security guards to subdue him before they drag him out the door.

"How many people think I suck? How many of you want your money back?" Steele bellows. But there's no sign of sucking here tonight -- Steele sounds better live tonight than he has in ages (which, we can't help but wonder if that might have something to do with the fact that he's chugging Gatorade instead his customary bottle o' red wine). The night ends with "Black No. 1." And when he sings "Her perfume smells like burning leaves," pretty much anyone in the audience with XX chromosomes fancies herself a Little Miss Scare-All, as evidenced by the display heartfelt mouthed lyrics and twirly dance moves. Before the end of the night, Steele tells us: "With a face like mine, every day is Halloween." If only he'd show that not-so-ugly mug around here more often.

Slideshow of Misfits and Type O Negative

Nearly complete set list from Type O Negative's show

Type O Negative set list - Halloween 2009
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