Danzig The Guvernment, Toronto ON - February 24, 2005

Danzig The Guvernment, Toronto ON - February 24, 2005
Glenn Danzig, who turns 50 this year, hasn't lost a step, despite recent streaming-video evidence to the contrary. When Danzig came out on the wrong end of his much publicised July 2004 scuffle with Northside Kings' Danny Marianinho, a man twice Danzig's size and many years his junior, the bloom seemed off Danzig's black rose. But this fierce Toronto crowd of brawny men and suicide girls saw anything but a man past his prime. As demon-skull banners loomed overhead, all five-feet-four of Danzig stood black-clad at centre stage, his oversized silver skull belt-buckle reflecting the Guvernment's dim light. In full-throated metal god croon, Danzig tore ferociously through a rapid-fire, headlong set that drew heavily on his recent back-to-basics material and the core I to IV records, wisely staying well clear of the meandering excesses of his late '90s output. "Twist of Cain," which dates back to Samhain, was the only hint dropped of a musical life before 1988's Danzig, no doubt disappointing the Misfits-hopeful punk rockers scattered throughout the club. Lucifuge's "Her Black Wings" and Thrall: Demonsweatlive's "It's Coming Down" offered the night's best evidence of Danzig's near-genius for the anthemic chorus, as the fist-pumping crowd tunelessly bellowed along with devil-horn hand gestures passing from audience to performers and back again. Danzig's backing band, in its current incarnation, plays with admirable tenacity and bite but one acutely feels the loss of John Christ's steady hand. Ex-Prong guitarist Tommy Victor's rushed "Mother" — still the crowd-pleasing encore — skipped almost merrily from one chord to the next, whereas Christ's would slouch, lurch with a gait like that of the barely-conscious, bloodied man led out of the room by security halfway through the show as the slow grind of "How the Gods Kill" filled the room.