We’ll keep this introduction brief: You need to see the Misfits. The seminal New Jersey quartet exploded onto the scene in 1977—shocking the punk scene with horror-film themes and a sonic assault as melodic as it was brash. The sound was so unique, it influenced generations of bands, from Alkaline Trio (which will open Thursday’s show, along with Fear) and AFI to Metallica and Steve Aoki. We can think of a hundred reasons why you should catch the legendary band, but here are five to get you started …
1. You’ll get a solid lineup. In their 40 years of existence, the Misfits have become a revolving door of fill-ins and guest musicians. Thankfully, the 2017 iteration will feature two key originals—frontman Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Only—along with longtime guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, who was monumental in crafting the band’s aesthetic, both visually and sonically. Those three will be joined by Slayer drummer (and longtime fan) Dave Lombardo. The foursome came together for Riot Fest last year in Chicago, and has just one other 2017 gig scheduled: December 30 at LA’s Forum.
2. They’re likely to perform hits from their early catalog. When the horror-punk trailblazers played Riot Fest, Danzig handpicked a carousel of “hits from hell” for the occasion. It was a journey through the Misfits’ defining moments—songs that serve as anthems of the past and relics of the future. The Misfits rode through the boisterous “Die, Die My Darling,” “Horror Business,” “Hybrid Moments” and 22 others—all from 1983 or earlier. With Danzig at the helm again, we can expect a similar setlist packed with fan favorites.
3. They’re playing an arena. And one of the biggest in the city, at that. Sure, we’ve witnessed other versions of the Misfits rock stages across the city from dive bars to Brooklyn Bowl, and we’ve been able to catch solo sets from Danzig, Only and Frankenstein here and there. But it’ll be interesting to see how the songs—originally performed in basements, small venues and dives—translate to the big stage.
4. The visuals should be massive, too. Even if you’ve never heard a single Misfits song, you’ll surely recognize the band’s iconic “crimson ghost” logo. It first appeared as a character in the 1946 horror serial The Crimson Ghost and has since popped up on clothes worn by celebrities like Justin Bieber, Drake, Robert Pattinson and Lindsay Lohan. Expect a sea of fans sporting the logo, and, if the stage setup remains the same as for the band’s Riot Fest reunion, the crimson ghost to truly come to life.
5. You literally have to be there in order to see it. Danzig, who has been vocal about his disdain for amateur photography, has instituted a no-camera policy during his shows, and this one will be no different. “Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr cases that will be unlocked at the end of the show.” That means if you’re there, you can focus on singing along or hitting the circle pit without interference—but don’t expect to rewatch the show later on YouTube.
The Original Misfits with Alkaline Trio, Fear. December 28, 8 p.m., $50-$160. MGM Grand Garden Arena, 702-891-1111.