One day after My Chemical Romance headlined Riot Fest day one, a previous generation’s gothy NJ punk band headlined the second night (9/17), the Misfits. “The Original Misfits” — Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only, and Doyle with second guitarist Acey Slade and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo — began their reunion at Riot Fest Denver and Chicago in 2016, and their return six years later was extra special, as this time they were playing Walk Among Us in full for its 40th anniversary. The album play meant they did some songs they haven’t played yet in the six years they’ve been reunited — including “Nike-A-Go-Go,” “Hatebreeders,” and “Braineaters” — and it was a real treat to hear this classic, timeless, and insanely influential album played from start to finish. There were times when it felt like Danzig’s vocals were too low in the mix, and some of the longer gaps between songs messed with the flow a little bit, but for the most part, the Misfits sounded great. They were loud and in-your-face, and Dave Lombardo’s expert drumming gives them an even stronger backbone than they had on the original Walk Among Us record. The visual aspect is over-the-top and awesome too, including two giant jack-o-lanterns on either side of the stage, a stack of amp cases in the back with the Misfits skull on every one, a screen projecting Misfits logos and artwork, and Jerry and Doyle decked out in devilocks, face paint, costumes, and matching ghoulish guitars and basses (many of which Jerry broke). It was exactly the kind of presentation that songs like “Skulls” and “Devil’s Whorehouse” require.
Even when there were moments when Danzig seemed low in the mix, it didn’t really matter, ’cause the crowd was yelling back just about everything, especially all the anthemic refrains that Walk Among Us is chock full of. It’s pretty amazing to see an album that technically birthed no hit songs get performed and received as if it was a greatest hits set, especially on those tracks that have rarely or never been played by reunion-era Misfits. It’s also just amazing how fresh these songs still sound. The Misfits have been such a core influence on countless bands that have played Riot Fest over the years, including the previous day’s humungous headliners, and especially on Walk Among Us — which is a little less ’50s-inspired than the band’s earlier material and a little more of a direct precursor to the punk boom of the ’90s and 2000s — they sound like a band that could’ve existed much more recently than 1982. And that this 40th anniversary performance was exclusive to Riot Fest made it even more special. It’s one of those one-of-a-kind festival appearances that’s truly worth traveling for.
After Walk Among Us ended, the Misfits did another 12 classics (two-song encore included), from early faves like “Bullet,” “Hybrid Moments,” “Some Kinda Hate,” “Halloween,” “Last Caress,” “Horror Business,” and “We Are 138” to Earth A.D. cuts like “Die, Die My Darling” and the title track. Some of Danzig’s stage banter could be eyeroll-inducing, like when he doubled down on recent remarks and insinuated that a song like “Die, Die My Darling” couldn’t come out today because of “cancel culture,” but those moments were brief and overshadowed by the power of the songs. Those early Misfits songs are embedded in punk’s DNA at this point, and being in a festival crowd that was yelling every word to them was as awesome as you’d hope.
Check out the full setlist and some fan-shot videos below (and watch footage of The Original Misfits’ live debut of “Hatebreeders” on our Instagram stories), and stay tuned for more of our Riot Fest coverage. For our day one coverage, check out our review and pics of My Chemical Romance, post-hardcore supergroup L.S. Dunes’ live debut, and more day one pics & review.
The Original Misfits @ Riot Fest 2022 Setlist
Walk Among Us:
I Turned Into a Martian
All Hell Breaks Loose
Nike a Go Go (First time played as “The Original Misfits”)
Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?
Night of the Living Dead
Hatebreeders (First time played as “The Original Misfits”)
Braineaters (First time played as “The Original Misfits”)
Some Kinda Hate
Die, Die My Darling
Where Eagles Dare
We Are 138