Concert Review: Misfits, Rancid, The Damned, & Cro-Mags In Oakland, CA

Last night (September 11), I attended The Original Misfits’ show at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA and it was an extraordinary night of legendary punk.

Harley Flanagan’s Cro-Mags opened the show, which they dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The short, hard-hitting set was the perfect way to kick things off and those who showed up early were not disappointed. The group played a number of tracks from their catalog, but one of the highlights was “No One’s Victim” off their latest EP “Don’t Give In.”

As soon as Cro-Mags were done, The Damned took the stage for an awesome set. The band sounded great and they were certainly one of the strongest acts of the night. They were also very energetic, especially keyboardist Monty Oxymoron, who kept breaking out in crazy dances. Highlights from their set included “Smash It Up” and “Love Song.”

Once The Damned finished up, it was time for the East Bay’s own Rancid. The band busted right out of the gate with “Roots Radicals” and continued to play hit after hit with several songs from their latest album “Trouble Maker” thrown in for good measure. The band seemed to be having a great time onstage, which is cool to see and they even had a few humorous stories for the fans. One notable one was from guitarist Lars Frederiksen, who said he asked his son if he wanted to celebrate his 12th birthday with his dad’s band and the Misfits, or if he wanted to go see Iron Maiden at the same venue the night prior. He said the kid rejected the offer to see his band almost instantly, saying “Maiden bro!” Aside from that anecdote, other highlights from the group’s set included performances of “Fall Back Down,” “Time Bomb,” and “Ruby Soho.”

After Rancid, the legendary Misfits descended upon the stage to bring Halloween to the crowd 50 days early. The band opened with “Death Comes Reaping,” before launching into “I Turned Into A Martian” and “Vampira.” The nearly 30 song set was amazing and the band sounded absolutely incredible. Despite the years of feuding between Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, everything went off without a hitch. Danzig’s vocals were as powerful as ever and Only and Doyle’s stage antics were fun to watch. Having a masterful drummer like Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, etc.) and a killer guitarist like Acey Slade (Dope, Murderdolls, etc.) only enhanced the experience as well. Aside from the music and showmanship, the band also had solid stage production with big screens that changed the imagery for each track, cool light displays, big jack-o’-lanterns, etc. As far as highlights go, it was definitely cool to see the group perform tracks like: “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?,” “Horror Business,” “Hollywood Babylon,” “Skulls,” Where Eagles Dare,” “Last Caress,” “Die, Die My Darling,” and their closer “We Are 138.” All in all, it was phenomenal show full of timeless classics.

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Rancid were sick earlier! #rancid @rancid

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The Damned killed it earlier! #thedamned

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Cro-Mags rocking earlier! #cromags

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The Damned To Record New Album In October

The Damned have revealed that they will hit the studio in October to record their new album. With this news, the band also revealed that they have parted ways with Stu West. With him gone, ’80s-era bassist Paul Gray has returned to the fold.

The group posted the following update:

The band enter the studio this October in Brooklyn, NY with famed Producer Tony Visconti who for over five decades has produced some of the world’s most influential artists and their greatest albums (David Bowie, T.Rex, Morrisey, U2, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop and Thin Lizzy). On Engineer duties is four time Grammy-winning Producer /Engineer/Mixer Kevin Killen, who has also worked with Bowie and has spent the last several decades compiling an impressive list of credentials featuring premiere pop artists Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, Burt Bacharach, Bryan Ferry and Brandon Flowers.

It’s rather fitting that the band who in 1976 launched an alchemic, heady new British rock sound collaborates with one of the most important and influential producers in the history of rock. “We want to do the unexpected,” noting that the new album will offer some of the old and a lot of the new. “We’ve never been predictable and well, neither has Tony. There will be a measure of experimentation and we know he’ll do his best to artistically challenge us. He’s been at the top of our producer list since we first started thinking about recording the album, dream come true he’s on board!”

This news also comes with a change in The Damned’s line up: the band announce the bitter sweet news of the departure of bassist Stu West. “We had a great time with Stu on this long journey. We have infinite respect for him and are forever grateful for his contributions to The Damned. As a result of this mutual understanding, we respect his decision, support him wholeheartedly and wish him the best of luck and success.”

Furthermore, The Damned reveal that once again they will reunite with their former bass player Paul Gray (Eddie and the Hot Rods/Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls, Rob Tyner (MC5)/UFO), who was an essential part of the Damned during the 80s and who played bass on previous Damned albums “The Black Album” and “Strawberries”. Gray will be joining the Damned in the studio this fall.