The Day of the Dead got started in a loud fashion last night at Brauerhouse in Lombard for a Halloween bash. Michale Graves was in town supporting his "Lost Skeleton Returns" album. This particular night, right after Halloween, Graves decided to celebrate his entry into this horror business by playing (nearly exclusively) Misfits songs.
Shaved head in full skeleton makeup, the former Misfits singer regaled the crowd with brief horror movie introductions to several songs. His voice was spot-on, as it normally is live. The set resurrected mostly tracks from the Misfits records "American Psycho" and "Famous Monsters", the two albums that Graves sung on. However, after the band kicked off with “Scream!”, they went right into the Glenn Danzig-era classic, “Skulls”. Maybe this was an omen as the guitar experienced some technical difficulties soon after. Maybe this is just what happens when anyone tries to play those songs because Danzig himself was having technical and guitar issues at this year's Riot Fest. The rest of Graves's band soldiered on for three more songs before life was brought back to the guitar side of the stage for “Speak of the Devil”. The issues weren't entirely solved, however. Riffs sounded great but sometimes chords came off somewhat muffled.
Following that were three of the best performances from Graves's Misfits of the night with “Descending Angel”, “Dig Up Her Bones”, and “Don't Open 'Til Doomsday”. He then gave us a small reprieve from the 'Fits with four songs from his solo career, including the fantastic “Lost Skeleton”, maybe his best song yet. A bit after resuming with the retro set, things took a bit of a turn. The band launched into “Last Caress”, a song I have seen performed by Metallica and twice by Danzig with Doyle. This was the least impressive rendition heard by these ears. Graves himself voiced that he had concerns over whether performing Danzig-sung tracks was “taboo”. While some people are likely never to hear classics like “Horror Business” or “Teenagers From Mars” live, unless sung by the dreadful croon of Jerry Only, Graves really doesn't have much business singing them on his solo tour (despite those two, in particular, sounding great). It would be like Sammy Hagar performing “Runnin' With the Devil”. While the crowd en masse was certainly pleased at the notion, there were a few with uneasy feelings about it. The show wrapped up with two more songs off of Famous Monsters that he has played at most of his shows, “Fiend Club” and the mid-tempo anthem “Saturday Night”, the latter performed in the manner of the original recording and not the subpar, de-tuned version from "LSR".
Opening act, the chick punk surfabilly L'Assassins, were excellent. They blazed straight through their half an hour with laser focus. Particularly, their opening song that is doesn't appear to be released yet was boss. The night was definitely enjoyable overall as the excitement carried the audience past 1:30 in the morning (this place has a penchant for starting shows an hour or so late). The Danzig tracks felt like a trick but the treat was seeing Graves embrace his past for, at least, the night.