Jaime Lees ventured out last night to see the Misfits anniversary tour, as the Roberts Orpheum -- known as the American Theater back in Ye Olden Days -- was hosting a rare rock show. Here's her dispatch from the scene of the crime.
THE VENUE: Same as it ever was. Great sounding space, grand ceiling, craptacular carpeting. It has that beautiful goth-y church feeling about it, but in a decaying, romantic New Orleans way. Convenient choir-style risers were set up at the back of the general admission floor for your viewing pleasure. A sherpa would have been helpful, as there's bunches of stairs and the amenities are hard to find -- though I did accidentally find a potentially sweet make-out closet in my hunt for the potty.
THE SITUATION: Roberts Orpheum workers were mostly friendly and helpful. The tiny bar in the basement closed at 10:30 p.m. To get any refreshments patrons first had to go to a nice lady at a card table and buy a color-coded drink ticket; the bar staff doesn't take any cash. My campy bartender was dressed in the spirit of the evening- wearing Halloween costume-style skeleton gloves. I'm guessing the venue was 15 to 20% full, but if it was at capacity, these superfluous steps would have caused a giant clusterfuck.
THE SCANDAL: Rumors passed like gonorrhea through the crowd all night: "Did you hear this show almost got canceled?" "I heard they only had 100 tickets presold." "The promoter lost so much money on this show." I don't know which -- if any -- of those comments are true, but it would only make sense that somebody lost some money; the place is huge and it seemed shockingly empty. If the Roberts Orpheum continues to host rock shows (pretty please?), it would help fill St. Louis' current miserable venue gap. Let's just hope future shows are better attended.
THE CROWD: Tons of young kids and old haggard punker-types. Looking into the crowd all you could see is a sea of black hoodies with the Crimson Ghost stamped on them. This is one of the few concerts where wearing the band’s T-shirt isn't a faux-pas -- in fact, it's encouraged. Many people see the Misfits not as a band but as a lifestyle.
THE OPENERS: I only saw a bit of loud, swirling opener Holy Python, but the crowd didn't seem to warm up to them. It was a tough slot, because people were still arriving when they went on. When we got to the venue we found out that the Pubes had played at 7:15 p.m., a mere 15 minutes after the doors opened. (We didn't even know they would be playing at all.) There were obviously some scheduling issues with this show. Punk scene darlings The Humanoids were up next. That band continues to impress the hell out of me, my love for them doubles every time I see them. The crowd dug them, too, and the kids started a friendly mosh pit on the floor.
THE MISFITS: Original Misfit Jerry Only has the unenviable task of filling the slot left by former lead singer Danzig, that superstar sausage. While Only's attempts are appreciated, it's true that the band just isn't the same. The word I heard thrown around a bunch last night was "depressing." Only at least looked like he was having a good time. He frequently flashed a handsome smile and made sure to high-five every single kid that got up on stage to stage dive. His signature devil lock hair style now protrudes from a receding hairline, but he did his best to act the part and keep the crowd amped. He gave typical banter ("St. Louis! Since you're such a small crowd you're going have to be THAT. MUCH. LOUDER!" or something like that) and basically let us know he knew where his bread was buttered. Keeping this audience happy required playing few new songs and tons of old Misfits classics ("Halloween," "Die Die My Darling," etc.), and the band obliged. As a nod to current guitarist Dez Cadena's former band, the Misfits also ripped through a few Black Flag treasures ("Six Pack," "Rise Above"). Sadly, this was my favorite part of the show.