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THE MISFITS / ADAM WEST /
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
The Trocadero Theatre; Philadelphia, PA; 10/27/01


Reviewed by Alicia Downs

    So I set out on this adventure at around 7pm. This would be the first time that I had ever gone to a Misfits show and I had not listened to them since I was in high school. It has been a while, to say the least, but I was pretty jazzed about the whole deal. Philadelphia loves Halloween, so The Misfits playing a few days prior made it all the better. 

    The Troc is always a cool venue to see shows at. Granted, it has an early curfew - 11:00 - that performers bitch about but the security is always kick-ass not to mention the fact that it used to be an old burlesque house. The burlesque house deal alone makes the Troc kind of cool.

    So I get in and, looking on the floor, I see a ton of kids donned in their best Misfits costumes. Painted faces with hair slicked just like Jerry, along with Misfits T-Shirts at every turn blanketed the place. It was quite a sight to behold - so many people so indulged in the whole deal. Me, I was wearing a black Parasuco shirt and black pants. Hey, at least I got the color right.

    Opening act American Nightmare was the first to take the stage. They are a local three-piece rockabilly band. The crowd was just standing there staring at them, as I am not sure they knew what to make of the whole deal. American Nightmare fits my "if you can shake your ass to it, it must be good theory" quite nicely. If it would not have seemed frowned upon by the angry youths I would have surely been shaking mine. 

    American Nightmare had some pretty interesting tongue-in-cheek lyrics as well. The third song's chorus went a little something like, "It's been quite a while since I've had a tune up ... a change of oil will get me through the night." Either he has a really old pickup truck or my mind is just that dirty. Not sure which it is to be honest ... They sung a few more of the songs from their independent, self-titled album that included "Six Shades of Sin" (which dirty me thought was titled "Six Shades of Semen"), new one "Doin' My Time," and closing with "Kill Friday Night." Just like everything else I 
say take a band for what it is worth and "American Nightmare" just seems like an enjoyable band. Of course, the crowd freaked and the comments came rushing through about how dare this rockabilly band open for The Misfits! It was like sacrilege or something.

    The next band popped on the stage around 8:05 and was immediately complaining of some legitimate sound problems that included the mic cutting out. But the way that Adam West, (the band, not the Batman actor) handled it was just poor to say the least. For starters I was kind of pissed that they had the name from one of my childhood heroes. But that aside, the lead singer broke out into a ball-grabbing marathon in response to the sound problems. I was not sure if he was checking to see if everything was still there or what, but it was just a smidge on the pompous side. Then, when the heckling began from the audience ("We want The Misfits! Get the hell off the stage!") he flipped  everyone off, grabbed his package some more, and put the mic down by his penis. Real smart, buddy. Win me over by telling me to fuck myself and performing crotch-grabbing antics. I could say some pretty harsh things here but an eye roll and a "your live performance sucked" will have to do.

    I will say this about Adam West: despite the sound problems and lack of congeniality, they had some excellent bass lines that vibrated the entire floor. It was kind of ... (dare a lady say?) ... exciting. Okay, moving right along ...

    So I end up in the back Trocadero room and I get the opportunity to see what is going on for my little report here. I walk in and see Marky Ramone sleeping on the couch. "That was kind of cool," I think to myself. Everyone was completely docile and serene back there with about a half-hour to show time. Dez is walking about but Jerry was no where to be seen. Before I knew it, though, in walked the man of the hour. The first thing I will remember of Jerry is that he had the leather tassels tied around his arms and when he turned to talked to someone, one of those things whipped me right in the arm. 

    Then Jerry moved over to the bathroom where I heard him singing doo wop behind the door. But as soon as he came out he was worrying about everything being copasetic with a Make a Wish Foundation Request. Then he was verifying that everything was going off for the charity concert being held in honor of the families of the World Trade Center victims in New York City on Halloween.

    Upon hearing the concern I would have to say that Jerry made the best first impression on a person that he possibly could. But it would only get better when I saw what a live performance looks like from a group of guys that have been playing music for 20+ years.

    Unfortunately, it has been a long while since I have listened to The Misfits so I was totally off on their catalog of songs. So you all are going to have to deal with a visual explanation of their live show through these green eyes of mine.

    The set was propped up with a three-tier drum deal. Robo from Black Flag goes on top and then Marky Ramone's is on the tier below that. Then there is the stage where Jerry of The Misfits and Dez of Black Flag are playing. There is a movie screen playing in the back with some interesting film clips (to say the least). I remember one that specifically stuck out to me was where this zombie-like creation took a knife and gave a woman a homemade lobotomy and then ate her brains. There was also some classic footage of The Exorcist and even Disney's Snow White. 

    Alternating red and blue spotlights strobed the stage and a huge Misfits skull banner was draped behind the drum tiers. There are also a pillar of skulls on each side and some little skulls floating about the floor.

    They played a mix of Misfits tunes as well as Black Flag and some Ramones joints. Again I was rusty so the only two that I can remember Black Flag's "Rise Above" and the tribute to Joey Ramone: "Sedated."

    Being the innocent that I was, watching both Robo and then Marky Ramone play drums was most intense. My eye could not even focus on the drumsticks, as they were moving so fast. For a good fifteen minutes I was mesmerized by this alone. Honestly, there was a time when I blanked out just watching them play drums. During Marky's time playing he broke a drumstick. After the set, I had the opportunity to check out what a drumstick looks like after just one time of his playing. It was chafed and looked liked it had been chewed through by a rabid dog. That sight was equally as impressive as watching him play.

    Another aspect of seeing this was watching the audience. I can honestly say that I have yet to see an audience eat it all up like this crowd did. The kids were chanting like mindless zombies along with every song. They were entirely entranced. 

    All and all, this was an energy-filled night. As a live Misfits virgin I have to say that I came out of the whole deal completely fulfilled.


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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.