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Improbable reunion tour brings the Misfits to Las Vegas

Beer and the Misfits.

In these divisive times, it feels like there’s less and less that we can all agree upon.

But rich or poor, white or black, Blue Devil or Tar Heel, man or astro-man, at least there are two things capable of uniting us all in their unimpeachable greatness.

Now, Budweiser is there for us to enjoy every single day, as most health professionals recommend.

But the Misfits?

Few ever thought we’d see the day when the band’s original singer, Glenn Danzig, would reunite with his creative foil, fellow founding member/bassist Jerry Only, after the two bitterly parted ways 3½ decades ago.

But last September, they got the band back together for a pair of reunion gigs that were among the most anticipated shows in the history of punk rock.

They haven’t played together since.

Until now. Yes, the Misfits are coming to Vegas.

If you call yourself a fan of punk, metal, hardcore or goth, you know how monumental it is for the Misfits to be back together, if only for two more nights. (The band also has a gig at the L.A. Forum on Dec. 30. And that’s it.)

If you don’t, here are the top three reasons the Misfits are one of the greatest punk bands of all time:

They made the catchiest songs ever about face-melting extraterrestrial zombies bent on exterminating the human race

A B-movie Beach Boys?

A brain-eating Ramones?

A demonic Dion?

Take the catchhiest acts ever. Clamp their eyelids open “A Clockwatch Orange”-style. Force them to binge-watch late-night creature features from the ’60s. Smother them in eyeliner. Seal it all up in black leather.

And there you have the most basic blueprint for the Misfits, a breakdown as sci-fi-indebted as the band’s E.T.-heavy songbook.

The Misfits’ repertoire is nothing but singalongs, pop punk before pop punk was a thing.

Structurally, their songs were arranged like fat-free, ’60s A.M. radio nuggets, powered by soaring, where-eagles-dare melodies punctuated by Danzig’s trademark, full-throated “whoa-oa-oa-s,” all delivered with the velocity of artillery shells exploding from the muzzle of a tank.

The Misfits are lyrically evocative of that era as well, referencing the suspicious death of Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy assassination, the dark underbelly of the Flower Power years.

Culturally speaking, the ’60s ended with the death of innocence — and the birth of the Misfits.

They brought punks and metalheads together

Punks and metalheads used to mix like oil and water, Alf and cats, Nick Nolte and mug shots.

The Misfits didn’t solely bridge this divide. They first entered the picture in the late ’70s, emerging like the chest-burster from “Alien,” and originally disbanded in ’83, back when the two sides were warring factions.

But the Misfits set the stage for the detente that would follow a few years later, their mercilessly fast songs and horror-heavy lyrics resonating with metal fans just as strongly as punk partisans.

Go ahead, try to find a shot of Metallica back in the ’80s when one of its members wasn’t sporting some Misfits gear. Not only has Metallica recorded the Misfits’ tunes numerous times (“Last Caress,” “Green Hell,” “Die, Die My Darling”), it also frequently worked with artist Pushead, who did tons of iconic Misfits art.

Metallica is hardly alone among longhairs who love the Misfits. They’ve been covered by metal and hard rock bands (including Entombed, Guns N’ Roses, Cradle of Filth, Behemoth, Prong, The Hellacopters and Hatebreed) as much as punk acts.

What’s more, former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo — among the greatest metal drummers of all time — is playing with the band during its reunion shows.

Oh, how things have come full circle pit.

They gave us the Evil Elvis, the Malevolent Morrison, the Master of the Meme

Glenn Danzig is many things: namely, the human embodiment of the grumpy cat meme and the proud owner of the universe’s deepest collection of see-through mesh shirts.

Also, he’s one of the greatest punk and hard rock frontmen to ever flex his biceps in your undeserving face.

With his publicity-photo perma-scowl and mucho-macho demeanor, Danzig’s ripe for parody, which he acknowledged with a pretty funny cameo on “Portlandia” last year.

If that guest spot showed Danzig could laugh at himself, well, he’s not alone.

A picture of Danzig leaving a grocery store carrying a box of cat litter practically broke the internet. Tales of Danzig being a bad neighbor angrily forced to clean up his yard while hurling bricks and obscenties similarly burned up the web.

And yet, as a musician — easy chuckles aside — the dude is a total all-timer with an incredible body of work.

Danzig’s Misfits catalog alone would be enough to get his mean mug chiseled onto the punk rock Mount Rushmore, you know, if his face wasn’t already made of stone. He went on to front underrated punk-metal hybrid Samhain before launching a solo career with the band that bears his surname.

Beginning with that group’s self-titled debut, Danzig set his love of Elvis, Roy Orbison and Jim Morrison against a bluesy bombast, a dark sensuality and wheelbarrow-loads of skulls, resulting in a slew of classic albums, chief among them 1990’s “Lucifuge” and 1992’s “How the Gods Kill.”

As Danzig helpfully points out, all around us, it’s a “Violent World.”

Danzig’s world. And we’re just lucky to be living in it.


Who: The Original Misfits

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: MGM Grand Garden, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Tickets: $49.75-$160 (702-891-1111)

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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