There are few rock acts that have a carefully as crafted identity such as Glenn Danzig and his brand of “horror rock” heavy metal. Throughout the years Danzig has remained as a name that for better or worse he has managed to shape into more than just his music and into an image that for a large group of fans has come to symbolize a part of their lifestyle. It was that carefully-shaped image that was under control this night as the Blackest of Black Tour made its stop in Charlotte at the Fillmore.
The talk of the night amongst everyone was the strict cell phone ban throughout the venue. It seemed superfluous, but I commend the security as their job this night was a task that I am sure was a pain for them as much as as it was for the many fans that have become accustomed to capturing photos and video at concerts. The strict photo policy extended into the media and limited our opportunity to capture any photos of Danzig’s performance and apparently continues to be a major sticking point for other stops on this tour where Danzig is receiving negative backlash for how he personally and impersonally handles fans and media in the audience attempting to capture images.
While it’s unfortunate that this has to be such a problem across the tour, it really in no way hampered the reason we were all in attendance, the music. With such a large bill there was plenty to take in.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsStarting off the night to a crowd that had already staked their claim against the stage barriers and filled in quite nicely to the rear of the room were Witch Mountain. Witch Mountain’s style of doom metal set the stage nicely as front woman Kayla Dixon captured the crowd with her voice and stage-dominance. Their set, which seemed short but expected of the opening band, was a nice blend of classic metal sounds that demonstrated a love for the medium. Downtime between all the sets this night was minimum and surprising to me.
Prong took the stage as the second act. Prong was the band on the bill that I was most looking forward to as their music and specifically their albums Cleansing and Rude Awakenings have been mainstays in my rotation over the years. If like me you scoured used CD bins at all in the late ‘90s early 2000’s you know the album cover for Cleansing with the eyeball and fork all too well. Frontman Tommy Victor and bassist Jason Christopher kept the crowd engaged while blazing through songs from old to new.
The drumming for Prong from Art Cruz was impossible to miss. His precision and drum sound were incredible and each member were able to highlight their individual contributions throughout various points of the set.
Veil of Maya were the next band on the bill this evening and in my opinion were a little out of place in comparison to the other acts on the bill. With a sound that falls into the Deathcore and Djent categories of metal, Veil of Maya broke from the traditional heavy metal hard rock sound on the rest of the bill. Another oddity of the set was their performance in almost complete darkness. I don’t know if it was their preference or the lighting engineer but the band had some pretty awesome backdrops which were almost impossible to see, never mind the band themselves. Their appearance on this particular bill fits, but almost seems to be a grab at getting a younger audience whose attention might not be piqued by the likes of Danzig or Superjoint Ritual alone. Which brings us to the next band, Superjoint Ritual. Led by metal icon Phil Anselmo, Superjoint Ritual were a highlight as many of the attendees I spoke with expressed that Superjoint Ritual were who they came to see.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsOnce the music began it was all business for Phil as he took that familiar stance, poked out his bottom lip, and thrashed with the music.
Superjoint tore through the first few tracks before Phil took the time in between songs to get into his on-stage banter. Phil’s stage presence is one of fun and irreverence and he really engages with the crowd in a way that few musicians take the time to do, even if he might not really be talking about anything. It was great to see the fans reciprocate and overall everyone got what they came for when it came to Anselmo and Superjoint.
The headliner for the night was Danzig and when it came to his set the first thing on my mind was whether or not the fans would abide by the camera ban or risk getting kicked out. For the most part everyone co-operated. A few risk takers brought out the cell phones and were quickly reprimanded with no real incident that I witnessed. Danzig’s stage set up was by far the most extravagant with a spooky set up of his horned skull in large sculptures illuminated with orange lights from below. A quick hashtag search can point you to some images of his stage set up but honestly if they were gonna make such a big deal as to even prevent press photos the last thing I wanted to do was even sneak an image and promote Danzig in any way. Danzig’s set consisted of classics from his huge catalog and a small selection of covers from an upcoming cover album. Prong’s Tommy Victor is featured on guitar for this tour and the band seemed on point and overall had great sound in spite of on stage monitor issues which seemed to be a major complaint for Danzig himself. Near the end of the set Phil joined the band on the side of the stage as a spectator and joined in on vocals for “Twist of Cain” and “Mother.” It was actually pretty cool to hear that unique yell that only Danzig has and, while I can hardly say that I am a superfan, it felt great to see and hear “Mother” live. With a long night of metal and with such variety within the genre it’s hard to believe that everyone in attendance did not find something to appreciate.
See full gallery here.
Catch Superjoint on tour:
10/23 – Cleveland, Ohio — Agora Theatre
10/24 – Milwaukee, Wis. — The Rave
10/25 – Omaha, Neb. — Sokol Auditorium
10/27 – Boulder, Colo. — Boulder Theatre
10/29 – San Jose, Calif. — City National Civic
10/31 – Los Angeles, Calif. — Microsoft Theatre