VERNON, NJ—There are some bands that fall into the category of “classic” that one feels they must see at some point in their lives. For me, one of those bands is the Misfits and recently, I got the pleasure of seeing them perform live at Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ. The show was one of those last-minute things where I had heard about its happening just the night before from a co-worker.
After getting out of work that night, we rushed up to the mountain to see the band that sparked the sub-genre of horror punk. As with any other show I attend, my thoughts were flooded with a list of songs that I wanted to hear them perform live. I mainly wanted to hear the older songs from the early ‘80s that had been what my older friends had grown up on.
As the second opener of the show, Burning Sun, was wrapping up their set, I had managed to get backstage and share a few words with singer/bassist Jerry Only. This man was one of the most genuine and kind human beings I had ever met. As the stage filled with smoke and lightning accompanied by loud samples of thunder, I waited eagerly for the performance with almost no idea of what to expect.
Through the cheers of the crowd of black eyeliner-wearing punks behind me, the Misfits immediately started ripping through the song “American Psycho” off of their 1997 release, American Psycho. The first couple of songs were those that I was unfamiliar with yet still extremely enjoyable, and it resulted in a very strong reaction from the fans. As the night had progressed, the Misfits began playing many older songs, such as “She,” “Bullet,” “Where Eagles Dare,” “Skulls,” “Halloween” and so on. As the classics progressed, so did the energy amongst the masses. Perhaps the most memorable occurrence of the evening was during the song, “Dig Up Her Bones.” The first crowd surf of the night was perfect for this track, especially for its lyrical content.
If there were two aspects of this show that stood out the most, it would have to be the solidarity of the congregation of horror fans and the emotional aspect found in an unexpected place. The crowd was one of the things that made this show at least 20 times more enjoyable. The organic harmony of a huge group of people screaming out the lyrics to old punk rock songs in unison is a truly moving feeling. It seemed as though every time they played another song that was well known, the angst grew more. Near the end of their set they played “Angelfuck,” which produced a feeling that I never thought I could find in a punk band. For some reason, this song played live felt extremely emotional and it came with a feeling of warmth from the inside.
The entire night had proven to be one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. I not only felt truly grateful and happy to see one of my all-time favorite bands play before me, but I felt honored to hear such influential artists at the same time. I thank my lucky stars that I was granted the opportunity to hang out with and witness one of the bands that “started it all,” so to speak. Seeing the Misfits perform live, in my eyes, is one of those life experiences that one looks forward to telling their children about before bedtime.