Fifteen years of concert going had all started here, at Barrymore’s in Ottawa with the legends of punk themselves, the Misfits. Little did I know that almost fifteen years to the date, I would be able to catch them out on the road still plugging away, with obvious lineup changes of course. There have been plenty of changes throughout the years for this band. We were lucky to catch them back in 2000 with Doyle on guitar, Jerry Only holding it down on bass and Dr. Chud on drums. Unfortunately Michale Graves wasn’t able to make it out to that short Canadian run of five dates throughout their Famous Monsters Tour and Zoli was brought along to fill in on vocals. This lineup which had originally reformed the band in ’95 after their ten year hiatus, had decided to call it quits the week after this very show, as Graves and Chud walked off stage mid-show in Orlando, Florida due to tension between the members. This left Jerry Only to continue on with the legacy, even picking up vocal duties himself.
I was fifteen years old at the time of my very first show and I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into. A few of us had managed to convince one of our parents to take us down to the city on a Thursday night. The doors opened surprisingly early at 6:00pm so we had to make our way down right after school had finished up for the day. We were all pretty excited to be hitting up the show. I couldn’t believe that I was finally going to see some live music out on my own, and luckily for us it was an all ages show. We arrived to Barrymore’s pretty early and ended up near the front of the line waiting for the doors to open up. I wasn’t sure if I was shaking due to the anticipation, or the simple fact I had only wore a t-shirt out in the fall evening. We had been listening to Famous Monsters and American Psycho to get ourselves prepared for the night of horror that was to come, it was a perfect October gig!
The doors had finally opened up and we were let in to find ourselves a place to warm up. It wasn’t long before the opening acts had made their way to the stage to get everyone moving. Speedealer and Guy Smiley, a Winnipeg-based Canadian punk band who had been making a name for themselves since 1992 were slotted in for the openers. Guy Smiley had us fired up and we were ready for the Misfits! Looking around the venue I was feeling a bit out of place with all of the harder looking punks. One big burly dude with a studded Dead Kennedys jacket, plenty of mohawks in each and every corner of the small 500 capacity club, surrounding fifteen year old me.
The Misfits made their way to the stage, all decked out in their face-paint and battle gear with their hair slicked forward in front of their faces. Their stage setup set the tone quite well with spikes and skulls covering the drum set, not to mention the smoke rolling in and the giant Crimson Ghost in the background to take it to the next level. They played plenty of songs off of their two latest albums that had come out after Danzig’s Misfits. Kong at the Gates and The Forbidden Zone opened up the show, just as they open up the Famous Monsters album.Witch Hunt kept things going with Walk Among Us, Dig Up Her Bones, From Hell They Came, and the title track off of American Psycho. A few of the classic Misfits tracks also managed to surprise us that night, Last Caress,We Are 138, and Static Age followed by Die, Die My Darling to finish the night off. By the end of the show I was blown away with what I had just experienced. For a first show, the Misfits had set the bar pretty high, not to mention it was only ten bucks to get in! Twenty-nine Misfits tracks were just the beginning of my live music addiction, and what a way to get hooked! We were even lucky enough to meet Jerry Only, Doyle and Chud after the show outside of the venue at their RV before we found our ride back home.
Almost fifteen years to the date, on the fifteenth day of October 2015, the Misfits were making their way through Ottawa yet again after all of these years. This time around they were out on the road for their Static Age Revisited Tour, playing their classic 1978 album, which itself hadn’t seen the full release treatment until ’97. Despite it being Jerry Only’s Misfits now, and Danzig was well out of the picture at this point in time, we knew it was our best chance at getting out to see them rocking all of their classics.
The Static Age Revisited Tour was scheduled for a stop at Ottawa’s Bronson Centre Theatre. This was my first time at this venue surprisingly after all of these years of going to concerts. A few of us made our way to the city and hit up a local pub to meet up with another buddy for some pre-drinks. After enjoying a few Oktoberfest brews we made our way to the venue. The doors had opened relatively early that night around 6:30pm and we had missed one of the opening bands by the time we made it down there shortly before 8. A couple of local Ottawa punk bands were lined up as the openers, Shootin’ Blanx and Brain Damage. We ended up catching what seemed to be the last half of the Brain Damage set and they weren’t anything to rave about. The main supporting act for the tour was Jerry Only’s latest creation, the She Demons! An all-girl punk band based out of the West coast. They were great to have as openers on the bill and had the crowd tuned up in no time. They played through just under a dozen tracks of some of the material that they were planning on releasing on their upcoming debut album.
She Demons wrapped up their set and it wasn’t long before the Misfits took the stage. The Crimson Ghost came out with a torch while the smoke machine filled the stage as the lights went out, everyone knew it was showtime! Eric Arce on drums, Marc Rizzo on guitar and Jerry Only ring-leading it all on bass and lead vocals. They dove right into their debut album Static Age with the title track, followed up with TV Casualty, Some Kinda Hate, and a couple of their classics, Last Caress and Return of the Fly. The Misfits finished up their entire seventeen track Static Age album from start to finish and they weren’t even close to being done! A few American Psycho tracks were thrown into the mix with Abominable Dr. Phibes, American Psycho, and Speak of the Devil before continuing on with all of their other gems that we were hoping to hear live; Where Eagles Dare, Scream!, and Fiend Club. The bassist from She Demons came out to play a new song that Jerry had been working on with them, Vampire Girl, before jumping back into the heavy hitters, Dig Up Her Bones, Saturday Night, Helena, American Nightmare, Don’t Open ‘Til Doomsday, and We Are 138, which wrapped up their regular set. As if that wasn’t enough, Jerry Only and the rest of the latest creation of the Misfits returned to the stage for a seven song encore with Die, Die My Darling, and Halloween, topping the setlist off at forty tracks! Overall, it was a great show and we were pretty happy with how it had all turned out. Who knows how much longer these guys will be out touring around. You could certainly tell how another fifteen years of touring out on the road had caught up with them. Would I give them another fifteen years? Who knows? I’m glad that we can say that we were lucky enough to catch these legends of punk live, regardless if they were throughout the Danzig years or not.