Danzig ‘Blackest of The Black’ Austin, TX Concert Review: Devilish Metal was alive and well at Stubbs’ Waller Creek Amphitheater.
Even in a city as hipster-centric as Austin, a week bookended by two ACL Festival installments is pushing it. So thank God (I mean Satan) for Danzig’s Blackest of the Black Festival, which added a much-needed jolt of metal to this week’s proceedings (the fact that it’s being billed as an ACL aftershow is bizarre to say the least).
Portland Doom Rockers Witch Mountain kicked off the festival, with new vocalist Kayla Dixon wailing atop sinewy riffs. But their short set amounted to only three songs, given the first tune stretched on lengthily.
Veteran metal act Prong were up next, which felt somewhat criminal with such an early time slot, but fitting with their underrated status. And given frontman Tommy Victor pulls double duty as axe-slinger in Danzig, perhaps he wanted a breather in-between sets.
The group plowed through classics like Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck, as well as debuting a new track, Ultimate Authority (to be featured on their upcoming release X (No Absolutes). It got the crowd moving, even inspiring a moshpit in the process.
Veil of Maya were the youngest band on the bill, and bombarded the crowd with a flurry of Djent/Metalcore riffs and alternate screamo/clean vocals. I will fully admit I’m too much of an old fart to go for that style, so not my bag.
Superjoint Ritual’s set was a curious thing, with an inebriated Phil Anselmo spending more time berating the mellow crowd than playing their material, resulting in a lopsided set.
When the band did actually play, the crowd ate it up. Let’s hope he’s the more congenial Anselmo of late when his third installment of Housecore Horror Fest hits San Antonio later this month.
But the main reason that the crowd was here, was obviously for Danzig, and he gave a high energy set (albeit plagued by a muddy sound mix.)
His band opened with his standard audience rave-up Skincarver, and leaned heavily on his iconic first album, with classics like Am I Demon, Mother and Twist of Cain. But it were the departures from his usual set list that proved revelatory.
He unearthed Until You Call On The Dark, from his underrated Danzig 4p to a howling crowd, while playing one of my favorite 21st century tracks, Black Mass. And he finally gave fans an in-depth selection of tracks off his forthcoming covers album Skeletons.
He gave a ripping rendition of Elvis Presley’s Let Yourself Go, (saying he hoped the King would have approved), and a skulking take on Black Sabbath’s N.I.B. Other covers in the set included two biker movie tunes, Devil’s Angels, and Satan, both of which had a strong Misfits feel and went over well with the crowd. .
Like the last time he played Stubbs, he asked the audience to scream out what track he wanted to finish off his encore, and just like last time the choice was Long Way Back From Hell, off of 1990’s Danzig II: Lucifuge. This proved yet another show that excised my all time favorite Danzig tune, Snakes of Christ.
Perhaps he’s just sick of playing it, but I’ll hold out hope (and pray to the dark lord) to hear it the next time he hits the Texas capital.
The Fun Fun Fun Fest debacle of 2011 is now a distant memory. Three solid Austin shows in a row makes the proposed plan of erecting a local statue featuring Danzig riding a dragon all the more intoxicating.
Danzig’s 2015 Blackest of the Black set list:
Hammer of the Gods
Until You Call on the Dark
Am I Demon
Her Black Wings
How the Gods Kill
Let Yourself Go
(Elvis Presley cover)
(Davie Allan & The Arrows cover)
(Black Sabbath cover)
Not of This World
Twist of Cain
(Paul Wibier Cover)
Long Way Back from Hell