Date: November 23, 2019
Opening Acts: The Snipped, Children of October, Offensive
Michale Graves, lead singer of the 90s-era Misfits was back again at McGarvey’s for a celebration of his contributions to the Misfits legacy with the American Monster Tour. With a load of opening bands and the promise of playing both “American Psycho” and “Famous Monsters” front to back with a full band, the evening looked to be a great one.
The opening bands consisted of local “dadcore” favorites The Snipped, Pittsburgh horror metal/punkers Children of October, Maryland-based metal band Offensive and a hip-hop punk band whose name slips my mind at the time of writing this.
All of the opening bands fit the bill and, in a way, personified the sound of the two Misfits albums that Michale Graves was supporting that night. “American Psycho” had a harder thrash punk edge reminiscent of the “Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood” album while “Famous Monsters” mixed in a variety of rock, metal and even 50s rock and roll on top of the punk sound that the 90s era became known for.
The Snipped chugged through their Ramones-esque/Fat Wreck Chords-sounding songs and brought the punk edge while Children of October thrashed their way through some great horror punk songs with more than enough Pantera influence to get your head banging. Offensive took the metal to the next level with some kick ass tunes that primed the crowd for Mr. Graves.
When Michael Graves took the stage, he wasted no time kicking things off. After “The Abominable Dr. Phibes”, which is the introductory song which opens the album, he shot through the first few tracks of “American Psycho” with lightning quick ferocity. Being my favorite Misfits album PERIOD, I loved every moment. To be hearing songs like “Dig Up Her Bones” and “Blacklight” live once again will never get old. There wasn’t much pause from Mr. Graves and company as they finished up “American Psycho”. The crowd knew every word of every song and sang along with as much intensity as the band on stage. For some reason or another, the last track “Don’t Open ‘Til Doomsday” and the hidden track “Hell Night” weren’t included in the set list. The same can be said for the song “Hunting Humans” from “Famous Monsters”.
Between albums, Michale gave some insight into “American Psycho” as well as the American Monster Tour. Altoona was the last stop in a nearly year-long tour with close to 150 dates. He apologized for his rough vocals as he pushed through the evening and he thanked everyone for being there on multiple occasions. Next up was “Famous Monsters”!
“Famous Monsters” is probably the Misfits most underrated album as it saw the band expand upon their punk sound with more guitar hooks and metal riffs as well as a strong focus on classic movie monsters and horror tropes…fitting for the album title. The only time I got to see this version of the Misfits was before the release of “Famous Monsters” so this was an added bonus to the evening since I had never bore witness to a single song on the album live in concert. Personal favorites of mine like “Scarecrow Man”, “Lost In Space”, “Dust To Dust”, “Die Monster Die”, “Saturday Night”, “Helena” and “Fiend Club” reverberated throughout the crowd and but a smile on my face from ear to ear.
Before the last few tracks on the album were played, Michale Graves paused to thank everyone in the crowd, his band, Richard McGarvey…the owner of McGarvey’s Bar and Grill…and to give some personal insight on his time in the Misfits and why he wrote the song “Fiend Club”. He said it was about all of the people that helped him experience a long career in the music industry and most of all the fans. They were his personal fiend club. He then ended the night with “Fiend Club” and my favorite song from the album “Helena”…and then a wondrous night of punk rock and roll was over.
After the show, Mr. Graves was hanging out at his merch table signing things for fans and taking pictures with them. I managed to snag a signed poster and got to share a personal story with Mr. Graves who thanked me and gave me a handshake and a hug. It was definitely one of the coolest and most sincere moments in all of my concert-going days. I’m hoping that Michale and company take some time off to re-energize and head on back to my neck of the woods while backing some of his own amazing solo stuff. For now, the opportunity to have heard both of the Misfits albums of my teenage years in person from front to back will keep resonating good thoughts in the back of my mind.