DANZIG – Oslo – Rockefeller

DANZIG – Oslo – Rockefeller

Oh how I love the first four Danzig albums. Genius. All of them. Put into the context of their time and place, they are truly remarkable and unique. Unfortunately, I was a late comer….their sound just being too foreign to me as a young whipper snapper Metal kid. Shame.

I was actually meant to see them on the "How The Gods Kill" tour and was actually ecstatic when they cancelled on the day of the show leading support act Skyclad (my reason for being there) to go book a local pub and play a full set in a show that remains one of the best I have seen. Shame on me (not for enjoying Skyclad obviously).

I saw the light eventually.

I did manage to see them in 2004 at the Hole In The Sky festival (RIP), however this was tainted by my drinking myself to such a state where I had to force myself to vomit just prior to their set in an effort to become sober enough to remember something. It was only a partial success.

Fast forward to 2011 and here are Glanzig and co. for a rare headline show in Scandinavia. For some reason I was feeling somewhat sceptical, excited too, but sceptical having received very mixed reports on the Danzig of late. Rockefeller is pretty much packed. At least as far as I can tell and if that is so, it means around 1300 folk have come out on a Thursday night for this. Not too shabby at all.

The band hit the stage and power through a set that nods with respect to the classics and their eras on one hand whilst being notably devoid of others. You can never really choose a set that is going to please all folk but in such a rare showing this far North, I just found it weird that an album as strong as Danzig 4 is represented only by "Bringer Of Death". A pointless gripe perhaps but I am merely pointing out how odd it struck me.
I found, however, that Danzig seemed to adopt an odd attitude onstage – whilst the crowd gathered were obviously devotees Danzig himself seemed almost at pains on occassion to prove something…I dunno…..like the knockout he received in 2004 courtesy of that mammoth North Side Kings bloke was mere chance and luck – the blink and you will not miss it spitting displays, the long adopted chest out, shoulders back alpha wolf pose, itself simply nullified by the years and their gathering about his midrift. Basically, I found it off putting and slightly disappointing that Danzig gives the impression of a man growing old with little grace, especially as so much of his catalogue defined itself from almost everything due to the fact that it had just that – grace.

Musically there were some issues for me too. The harsh, abrasive sound the band adopted that rendered some of the classics a little less classic sounding in my opinion. For a band who had that velvet sheen, the smooth edge of darkness that was simply theirs alone once upon a time, it was a little saddening to hear those songs lose that element in the live arena.
Add into this that Danzig himself is now in his mid-fifties and his voice is not the powerhouse that it once was. A few notable exceptions aside (Dickinson, Dio – before he died obviously), it is to be expected that there will be some dulling of the corners over the years. At times this was countered by covering what should have been a croon (the lines in the chorus of "Tired Of Being Alive") with a holler. No stress really, it is to be expected. I have to give credit to the man for pulling it off in places where i never would have expected him to though.

Overall, a less than classic set from a truly classic act (or artist at least). The band itself were stellar, save for guitarist Tommy Victor and those ridiculous faces he pulled to emphasise the fact he was playing a solo (or whatever). Yes. Someone should have a word with him, he truly did look like he had a long Pronged fork up his ass (see what I did there? Respect:-). All in all, I think I missed the boat but it was nice to have a glimpse at what once was greatness.