Danzig concert review with special guest Superjoint – Cleveland, OH – The Agora – October 23, 2015
October always brings out the freaks of the music world, the dark artists whose fans wait all year for the annual Halloween tour announcements. Danzig is indeed one of the most well-known and legendary macabre artists still touring, and his fans of all ages clamored into the Agora with heated anticipation. Having been to many shows at the Agora, big and small, over the years, I thought I knew what to expect, but nothing could have prepared me for the nightmare that was the security at the Danzig show. The Agora’s normal staff size appeared to have been quadrupled for the event, and after enduring what was definitely the most thorough search procedure to enter, I stood among the other shellshocked fans who were constantly being threatened with expulsion every time they touched their cell phones. Apparently, Danzig did not want anyone so much as checking an email while he was in the building. Needless to say, this created a rather uneasy tension between security and concertgoers.
When Danzig hit the stage and launched into “Skincarver,” all tension was forgotten, and ferocious fans threw their horns in the air. Dressed in his trademark all black and flanked on all sides by horned skulls, Danzig easily commanded the audience as he plowed through such favorites as “Am I Demon” and “Her Black Wings.” Unfortunately, the sound issues plaguing the opening bands traveled to Danzig’s set as well. He was in a jovial mood and engaged in a lot of banter toward the crowd- none of which could be understood. His voice seemed to be on and off, and, due to the poor sound, was made to sound even more patchy. Danzig didn’t seem as virile and ferocious as in the past, but his enthusiasm never buoyed.
In support of his upcoming covers album, Danzig launched into “Let Yourself Go” by Elvis Presley. The vocals sounded muddled and flat and the sound quality did nothing for Danzig’s Elvis impersonation ability. Danzig fans really wanted him to roll out his classics, but were instead treated to a barrage of cover songs. People started to give up about halfway through the covers and started leaving. Between the asinine security procedures, the terrible sound and the plethora of cover songs, Danzig’s fans were disappointed, to say the least. Danzig certainly has not lost his sparkle or charisma as a performer and he tried valiantly to put on a good show; unfortunately, the odds were stacked against him that evening. A rousing rendition of Danzig’s hit “Mother” rejuvenated the crowd somewhat, and Danzig was able to finish out the set on a high note, throwing up his devil horns the entire time.
Superjoint (formerly Superjoint Ritual), fronted by Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down, opened for Danzig, and, despite the ever present sound issues of the night, Anselmo pushed through and delivered a strong set. Having never seen Anselmo live, I was a bit unprepared for his imposing physical stature and the ferocity with which he stormed the stage. Anselmo is a terrifyingly brutal vocalist and his low growl of a voice sent shivers down my spine. The songs “Oblivious Maximus” and “The Alcoholik” opened the show and set the mood for the evening- tough and punishing. Anselmo seemed garrulous during the show and spent quite a bit of time talking to the crowd. Unfortunately, none of us could understand what he was saying due to the poor sound quality at the venue. Tearing through a tightly put together set, Superjoint reminded us why all of Anselmo’s projects fare so well- though the odds were against them, they still pulled off a wickedly intense live show cementing the band’s place in the annals of metal history.