ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 11, 1990
Over the years, yours truly has seen and heard a lot of things during his many sojourns to that famed Vancouver rock den known as the Commodore. But the recent Thanksgiving Day (October 8) show by L.A. metallists Danzig offered something new: the sight of bartenders selling earplugs to the all-ages crowd. “What a bunch of wimps!” I snickered, “the poor minors of today have eardrums too tender for a wee bit of the ol’ ultra-volume.”
But by the time the show was over, I was the one giving thanks for those little chunks of ear-saving foam.
The deafening promise of Danzig made itself evident from the opening chords of “Long Way Back from Hell”, the lead-off track from the band’s latest album, Lucifuge. Guitarist John Christ delivered an ungodly barrage of revved-up raunch, which was quickly given a thundering backbone by former D.O.A. drummer Chuck Biscuits. (That was when I decided hearing was the better part of valour and made a beeline for those plugs.) Biscuits prefers to stand up while he lambasts his kit, and the extra leg action afforded by this unconventional approach allowed him to get a real dangerous wump into his bass drum.
Singer/songwriter Glenn Danzig proved a strong presence on stage—sort of a metal Morrison—and along with guitarist Christ and bassist Eerie Von the band’s front-line constituted a formidable wall of tattoos, muscle, and macho. It wasn’t surprising that would-be stage-divers feared to tread on the territory staked out by the fearsome threesome.
Musically, Danzig operated quite dynamically within the guitar/bass/drums format, covering some soft ground with Christ’s subtle fingerpicking and Danzig’s dark poetry before turning into its more common raging beast form. The band’s heavy blues foundation was a welcome respite from the rapid-fire machine-gun approach that’s so prevalent among today’s less enterprising outfits.